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What Are California's Pregnancy Discrimination Laws?

Pregnancy is one of the happiest moments of every mother’s life as they await the addition to their family. Although pregnancy is a time to be joyful, many women experience challenges in the workplace. This is due to the vast increase in pregnancy discrimination. If you are pregnant, it is vital that you understand your employment rights and know-how to protect them.

If your employer has wronged you during pregnancy, contact our Los Angeles employment law attorneys today at (213) 292-5444 to schedule a confidential consultation.

What Is Considered Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats you differently because you are pregnant-- ultimately impacting your work and career. For example, your employer is not allowed to fire you because you plan on taking maternity leave. If they do, you can file a claim against them to recover lost wages.

Similarly, if your employer denies you a promotion or raise because you are pregnant, it is considered pregnancy discrimination. In any case where your employer discriminates or harasses you because you are pregnant, you have the option to pursue compensation for any wrongdoing.

California Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

According to the California Department of Human Resources, California law protects employees against discrimination or harassment because of an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical condition.

According to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), your employer has an obligation to:

  • Reasonably accommodate your medical needs related to pregnancy or childbirth, such as temporarily modifying your work duties, providing you with the necessary working equipment, or allowing more breaks.
  • Transfer you to a less hazardous position where one is available or less dangerous duties if medically needed because of your pregnancy
  • Provide you with pregnancy disability leave (PDL) of up to four months and return you to your exact job when you are no longer disabled by your pregnancy
  • Taking PDL, however, does not protect you from non-leave related employment actions, such as a layoff.
  • Provide a reasonable amount of break time and use of a room or other location close to the employee’s work area to express breast milk in private as outlined in the Labor Code.

California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

If you aren’t able to perform your job duties due to your pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition, you have the right to take four months of disability leave. If the employer provides more than four months of leave for other types of temporary disabilities, the same leave must be made available to employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

Your employer has an obligation to:

  • Guarantee in writing that you can return to work in your same position if you request a written guarantee. Your employer may require you to submit written medical certification from your health care provider substantiating the need for your leave.
  • Inform you of the company’s policy and whether your leave will be paid or unpaid. You may also be eligible for state disability insurance or Paid Family Leave (PFL), administered by the California Employment Development Department.
  • May require, or you may choose to use any available sick leave during your PDL.

My Employer Hasn’t Followed These Laws. What Should I Do?

If your employer hasn’t followed the California pregnancy disability laws, you can file a claim against your employer. Whether you’ve experienced discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or have simply been denied leave, you should speak to an experienced attorney. Our team at Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Singh, LLP has years of experience helping soon-to-be mothers protect their employment law rights. Our Los Angeles employment lawyers are prepared to help you through the process.

Contact us today at (213) 292-5444 to schedule a confidential consultation!

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