Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

Pregnant employees and those who have recently given birth often have questions about how their pregnancy or pregnancy-related health conditions will affect their employment. 

And rightly so, California and federal law provide such employees with many critical, legal rights in today’s workplace.

If you think your employer may have discriminated against or mistreated you because of childbirth, pregnancy, or a related health condition, the experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyers at the Workplace Rights Law Group are available to help.

Types of Pregnancy Discrimination

There are three (3) main categories of workplace rights that women who are pregnant or recently gave birth should know about.

Non-Discrimination Rights

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), pregnant women can’t be “discriminated against” because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or a pregnancy-related health condition.  As explained by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer cannot single out a woman because of pregnancy or pregnancy-related health condition by:

  • Refusing to hire her (so long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job);
  • Paying her less;
  • Giving her different assignments than would be given to a non-pregnant employee;
  • Refusing to promote her;
  • Firing her;
  • Denying her benefits;
  • Harassing her; or
  • Otherwise mistreating her.

If your pregnancy causes some type of disability that inhibits your ability to work, your employer must treat you the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.

Reasonable Accommodations Rights

Second, California employers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make “reasonable accommodations” at work for the pregnancy-related health restrictions and limitations of their female employees, unless those accommodations would impose an undue hardship. 

Such accommodations might include: more flexible hours, different duties, excusing tardiness if due to morning sickness, additional rest opportunities, etc.

Family Leave Rights

Third, someone desiring extra time off work because of pregnancy-related disabilities or related health conditions, or because they’re a new mother (or father) seeking time off to care for a newborn, may be allowed to take protected leaves of absences in certain circumstances and for limited periods of time.

They may also be guaranteed their same or similar jobs when they’re ready to return to work. The laws on this can be complicated. But if you need or want the time off, ask for it.

Can Your Employer Fire You During or After Your Pregnancy?

Your job is protected during pregnancy and after childbirth thanks to the Fair Employment and Housing Act. However, you can still lose your job for reasons such as downsizing or failure to perform your job duties. 

What Types of Leave Can You Take?

Once the baby is born, you have the right to take leave without fear of losing your job. There are both state and federal laws in place that offer protection, but with recent changes to California law, their protections are even stronger now.

Depending on your circumstances, California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) allows you to take up to four months of disability leave for a pregnancy-related disability or medical condition.

Pregnancy alone is not a disability, but here are some common examples of disabilities related to pregnancy:

  • Gestational diabetes,
  • Preeclampsia,
  • Mastitis,
  • Severe morning sickness,
  • Pre and postpartum depression, and 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Disability leave is available to both full-time and part-time employees.

Additionally, the mother and father may take up to 12 weeks of family leave to care for the child under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or Family Leave & Medical Act (FMLA). The leave can be used at any point within the first year of the child’s birth.

Disability leave runs concurrently with maternity leave, so to maximize your time away from work, you would want to take disability leave first and then family leave. 

During disability leave and family leave, your employer must continue to pay your healthcare coverage.

Both disability leave and family leave are unpaid, but you may be able to receive some type of compensation through California Paid Family Leave or State Disability Insurance, or by using accrued paid time off. 

Can Your Employer Require You to Take Leave When You Are Pregnant?

If a pregnant employee is able to perform her job, she must be allowed to work.

Even if you choose to go out on leave because of a pregnancy-related condition, you can still return to work once you are able. Your employer cannot require you to stay on leave until the baby is born. 

Your Rights if You Are Discriminated Against Due to Pregnancy

If your pregnancy-related workplace rights have been violated you have the right to fair and full remedies.  These can include the following:

  • money damages for any lost wages or benefits and for your emotional distress;
  • An order reinstating your job or granting an appropriate leave of absence;
  • Potentially punitive damages; and
  • An order requiring your employer to pay your reasonable attorney’s fees.

You have the right to file a complaint against your employer for pregnancy discrimination. It is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you in any way for exercising this right.

Let a pregnancy discrimination lawyer from the Workplace Rights Law Group fight for you.

Contact the Workplace Rights Law Group Today

At the Workplace Rights Law Group, we are committed to advancing the rights of all workers in our State, and fighting back against discrimination. If you think you may have been mistreated because of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related health condition or denied your fair rights in the workplace, contact us. 

Our pregnancy discrimination lawyers can answer your questions, explain your legal rights and your options, discuss filing a lawsuit versus filing a complaint with your employer versus filing a complaint with a government administrative agency. 

Don’t forget: You have no more than one year from the date you were discriminated against to file an appropriate legal claim and protect your rights, so don’t delay.

We have been aggressively fighting for workers’ rights in California for years, and know what to do when discrimination occurs. 

For a free consultation with our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination attorneys, contact us today online or by phone.