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Pregnancy Discrimination in California

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Learn what you need to do if you've experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace


Discrimination against pregnancy includes treating a woman (an applicant or employee ) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, pregnancy, or childbirth-related medical condition. Consulting with one of our California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers is always a good idea if you feel you've experienced this type of Employment Discrimination in California.


California pregnancy discrimination lawyer

What Qualifies As Pregnancy Discrimination In California?


The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits pregnancy-based discrimination in any area of jobs, including recruitment, dismissal, compensation, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.


If your rights under these California laws for pregnant employees have been violated, consult with a California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer.


California Pregnancy Accommodation Law


If an employee in California is temporarily unable to do her job because of pregnancy or childbirth-related medical conditions, the employer must treat her in the same manner that any other temporarily disabled employee is treated. For instance, if it does so for other temporarily disabled workers, the employer can offer light duty, alternate assignments, FMLA leaves, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees.


In addition, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), symptoms arising from pregnancy (for example, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a disorder marked by pregnancy-induced hypertension and protein in the urine) can be considered disabilities.


An employer must provide appropriate accommodation for a pregnancy-related disability and lack of undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense) (such as leave or adjustments that allow an employee to perform her job). The 2008 ADA Amendments Act makes demonstrating that a medical disorder is a protected disability much simpler.


Discrimination & Harassment During Pregnancy


Harassing an employee because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition connected with pregnancy or childbirth is unlawful. Harassment is unlawful when it is so regular or serious that it produces a hostile atmosphere or abusive work or when it leads to an adverse decision on jobs (such as the victim being fired or degraded).


The harasser may be the boss of the victim, a boss in another field, a co-worker, or someone who, such as a client or customer, is not an employee of the employer. A California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer will assess your particular claim to determine how to proceed.


California pregnancy discrimination attorney

Maternity, Parenting & Parental Leave


Under the PDA, an employer who requires workers with temporary disabilities to take disability leave or leave without pay must allow the same to be done by an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy.


For special procedures to assess an employee's ability to operate, an employer does not define pregnancy-related conditions. However, if an employer needs its workers to provide a doctor's report about their ability to perform normal job duties before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer can request such statements to be submitted by employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions. Consult with a California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer to file a claim.


In addition, a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) may be entitled to 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid whether the employee has received or accrued it) that may be used for the treatment of the new child under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. The pregnant employee must have been working for the same employer for 12 months before taking leave to be qualified, and the employer must have a defined number of workers. If you're unsure whether you qualify, you can ask your California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer to look into the facts of your case.


Can You Fire A Pregnant Woman In California?

California laws for pregnant employees make it illegal for employers to fire someone based on being pregnant. It is also illegal to fire employees for the following reasons:

  • Filing an FMLA leave or taking time off for medical reasons related to pregnancy

  • After taking a maternity leave

  • Requesting accommodations due to pregnancy, i.e., asking to work from home, requesting a change in work schedules, etc.

  • Reporting harassment from employers, supervisors, managers, and coworkers

For example, if you were fired after maternity leave in California, you might be eligible to file for wrongful termination in California. As long as you can prove the reason for your firing was your pregnancy (or something related to it), then you will have a successful employment claim.

How Much Compensation Can You Get For Pregnancy Discrimination?

So, how much is a pregnancy discrimination case worth if you file a claim?

Remember, the goal of pregnancy discrimination claims in California is to compensate people for the unfair and illegal employment actions they suffered. Therefore, you are entitled to economic and non-economic losses equivalent to how much you've lost and suffered at work.

These damages could include any of the following:

  • Lost income

  • Lost benefits

  • Loss of future job prospects

  • Emotional distress

The courts might award you punitive damages in some cases with malicious intent. However, this is rare and will only happen if your experience is particularly egregious.


That said, each pregnancy discrimination claim in California is different. Your case is unique because it is based on your specific circumstances. To get the best estimation of your potential damages, consult a prescreened California pregnancy discrimination lawyer.


los angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer

How To Report Pregnancy Discrimination In The Workplace?


To put together a strong case against your employer, you must immediately consult with a California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer experienced with pregnancy discrimination labor laws.

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