Understanding Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee in California

The California Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth. While pregnancy poses its own set of unique challenges, from medical tests to doctor visits and potential complications, pregnancy should be a memorable experience for any woman. Therefore, they should not have to worry that their pregnancy will cost them employment. 

No employer should deny requests for reasonable modifications so that you can continue working during pregnancy. Unfortunately, some employers discriminate against pregnant employees for requesting those temporary or necessary duty modifications.

If you or a friend has experienced pregnant discrimination at work, you should hire an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your rights with you and ensure that you get the help and compensation you deserve for that discrimination.

What Rights Do Pregnant Workers Have?

Pregnancy Discrimination

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978), it is illegal for employers to fire a worker because of pregnancy. This act prohibits workplace discrimination based on childbirth, pregnancy, or other related medical conditions. An employer should not:

  • Fire an employee because of their pregnancy.
  • Deny an employee some time off due to childbirth or pregnancy-related medical issues.
  • Refuse to hire someone because she is pregnant.
  • Deny a worker a promotion because of her pregnancy.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Under California Pregnancy Disability Act, pregnant employees are entitled to up to four months of unpaid leave during pregnancy. This law covers all medical conditions a worker suffers during pregnancy, including morning sickness, postpartum depression, and any complications from pregnancy.

Fair Accommodation

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) demands that employers provide reasonable and fair accommodations for female employees who cannot perform specific tasks due to pregnancy-related issues.

Fair Labor Standards

The California Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to award appropriate and reasonable accommodations to pregnant women. For example, after birth, an employee should be given a lactation accommodation to allow her to pump breast milk. It is also illegal to retaliate against workers or reduce their pay due to these accommodations.

What Damages are Available?

If you suffer discrimination in California because of your pregnancy, you can launch a complaint with the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. The agencies will help evaluate your complaint to establish if you need to pursue legal action. If you decide to move forward with legal action, a qualified employment lawyer can help you obtain compensation for the following damages:

  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Legal expenses
  • Punitive damages

Speak With Our Employment Law Attorneys

California offers strong protections for pregnant employees, including solutions for workers who have suffered workplace discrimination. At Limonjyan Law Group, we have the knowledge and experience to fight for those in vulnerable positions.

If you believe your employer has mistreated you because of your pregnancy, we can help fight for your rights and ensure you obtain fair compensation. Call us at 213-277-7444 to discuss your case with Ruben Limonjyan, one of the leading employment law attorneys at Limonjyan Law Group.