California Employees Must Report Maternity Leave Discrimination

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Legal Rights for Pregnant Employees In California Under Federal Law


If you are a pregnant employee in the state of California, have been pregnant, or may become pregnant, AND if your employer has 15 or more employees, you are protected against pregnancy discrimination and harassment at work under federal law.


You may also have additional rights under other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), state and local laws. If you feel you have been discriminated against at work because of being pregnant, you have a legal discrimination claim under the law.


Under the pregnancy discrimination act, employers are not allowed to discriminate against an employee based on the following scenarios:


  • You are pregnant while employed;

  • You were pregnant while employed;

  • You could become pregnant while employed

  • You have a medical complications or a condition related to your pregnancy; or

  • You had an abortion, or are thinking of having an abortion.


The federal law against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace states that you cannot be terminated, rejected for a promotion, given lesser work related assignments, or forced to take leave of absence for being pregnant.


An employer isn't required to keep you in a job that you are unable to perform or in which you would pose a significant safety risk for other employees. However, your employer cannot remove you from your job duties just because he/she assumes that work would pose a risk your pregnancy.



Harassment in the workplace due to pregnancy is also not allowed under the PDA and ADA. You should immediately report any type of harassment to HR and document any type of harassment. Follow your employer's protocol procedures for reporting harassment at work. Your employer is required by law to take action to prevent it from happening again.


What can you do if you are being discriminated against at work because of your pregnancy?


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may assist you in deciding the next course of action. You should also consult with a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer specialized in pregnancy discrimination. You must file a charge within 180 days of the alleged discrimination in order to take legal action, it is best to consult with a qualified Los Angeles Employment Lawyer.

Maternity & Parental Leave


Under the PDA, if your employer allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave or in some cases leave without pay, must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy the same right.


An employer may not make any assumptions of an employee's ability to work just because she's pregnant. Additionally, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, a new parent may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid if the employee has earned it) that may be used for care of your newborn.


Pregnant California employees may also have additional rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, nursing mothers may also have the right to express milk in the workplace under a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.


Consult with a pregnancy discrimination lawyer near you as soon as you suspect any type of discrimination or harassment at work by contacting your nearest Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Referral Service.


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