What Rights Does A Pregnant Employee Have In California?

Updated: Jan 27

A Guide To Employment Rights, Accommodations, And Maternity Leaves In California


Your pregnancy should never affect your employment. Unfortunately, some pregnant employees think their boss can do whatever they want, including terminating them when they're deemed temporarily unable to work. Fortunately, California has worker protections that extend to pregnant employees, and any violation of them could be grounds for claims of discrimination, Wrongful Termination, and retaliation.


best employment lawyers in los angeles

What Protects Pregnant Employees In California?


Pregnancy has distinct effects on different people. As a result, laws like the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) protect mothers who need maternity leave or pregnancy disability leave.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), an eligible employee can take California maternity disability pregnancy leave, which includes:

  1. An employee with a pregnancy disability is entitled to up to four months of disability leave.

  2. An employee can take leave for as long as they are physically unable to work due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, whether it is before or after the birth.

  3. An employee can request a transfer to a less physically demanding or dangerous role during their pregnancy if their doctor recommends it.

  4. Employees must be allowed to return to the same position before their pregnancy leave or transfer when they return from maternity leave or transfer.

However, not all businesses handle pregnant workers in the appropriate manner. These employers try to get away with mistreating pregnant women through their recruiting, firing, and management practices.

Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees


Employees on maternity leave or disability leave are protected against discrimination in the workplace under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Women on maternity leave in California are frequently subjected to the following forms of discrimination:

  1. It constitutes discrimination to refuse to hire a pregnant woman as long as they are capable of doing their job obligations.

  2. It is unlawful when an employer refuses to allow a pregnant employee to modify or undertake alternate job duties while allowing other temporarily incapacitated employees to do so.

  3. If a company gives benefits to employees on other types of leave, it is discriminatory to deny benefits to a pregnant employee.

That said, if you ever experienced employment discrimination because of your pregnancy (whether because you informed HR, filed a notice, or went on a leave), you have grounds for a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim In California.

If you think you've been discriminated against, it's best to consult a prescreened California Employment Attorney to know about the legal options you have.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave over the course of a year.


Employees who are on leave keep the same employer-provided health benefits that they received while working. Employees who are eligible for the leave can use it for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth or the adoption of a child or placing of a child in foster care.

  • To provide care for a member of one's personal family (spouse, kid, or parent) who is suffering from a terrible illness or disease.

  • When an employee is deemed unable to work due to a major health problem (SHC).

A significant health condition is defined as a disease, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that causes or necessitates the following:

  • Any period of an employee's incapacity or treatment related to, or after, inpatient care