Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
Losing your job when you are pregnant can feel like a complete loss of security–the very thing pregnant women need. Los Angeles attorney Betsy Havens and the team at Strong Advocates are here to protect and fight for you so that you and your loved ones can regain that sense of security and value.
Federal and state laws require employers to treat pregnant women fairly. Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer fires or treats employee unfairly because she is pregnant, has given birth, is breastfeeding or has a medical condition relevant to pregnancy or childbirth. It is it It is illegal for an employer to fire or demote a woman because she is pregnant or has a pregnancy-related condition. Employers also cannot refuse to provide time off or reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, nor can they force time off. Pregnancy discrimination violates numerous state and federal laws.
Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees
Under state and federal law, employers must give pregnant employees the same reasonable workplace accommodations provided to workers with temporary disabilities due to health conditions. For instance, if an employer would allow an employee recovering from surgery to work part-time or remotely from home, that employer would likely be required to provide the same accommodations to a pregnant employee with similar work restrictions related to her health condition.
Pregnancy-related health conditions that may require an accommodation might include, for instance, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or restrictions on movement such as bed rest. A pregnant employee may have a right to be engaged in light duty work assignments or flexible work schedule, receive a temporary transfer to another job, or obtain other accommodations during or after their pregnancy.
Like reasonable accommodations related to other disabilities, employers must engage in a timely, good faith interactive process as soon as they know that a person may need a reasonable accommodation. As long as the person, employer, and disability qualify for ADA protection, the employer must provide accommodations if, with those accommodations, the individual is able to complete the essential functions or duties of the job. An exception is if the accommodations would result in a significant expense. You can read more about your right to reasonable accommodations by visiting our Disability Discrimination webpage.
Time Off From Work
Employers must also allow employees to take time off for pregnancy-related medical conditions, childbirth, and bonding with the infant.
In California, there are generally three types of maternity leave, depending on the size of the company:
Pregnancy Disability Leave: A woman who experiences a disability due to her pregnancy or birth can receive up to four months of maternity leave while that disability continues. This law applies to most businesses that have five or more employees. Examples of conditions that would entitle the employee to begin her pregnancy disability leave before childbirth include severe morning sickness, the need for bedrest, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
Family leave: Eligible employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year, which can be used to bond with a new child after its birth, adoption, or foster care placement. To maximize total maternity leave, family leave can be taken after she has used any pregnancy disability leave. To qualify for family leave under California law, the employer must employ at least 20 people within 75 miles of the worksite; the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, and the employee must have worked more than 12 months for the employer prior to the period the leave begins.
Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women: If a pregnancy results in a qualifying physical or mental disability that impairs the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of her job, then that woman may be entitled to request reasonable accommodations for the temporary disability. This includes a reasonable but finite leave of absence, which may be longer than the time provided under Pregnancy Disability Leave or family leave laws.
Other Rights Related to Pregnancy
Women also have other rights related to pregnancy and motherhood. An employer cannot terminate an employee due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related disability. An employer also is prohibited from making promotional and hiring decisions based on a woman’s pregnancy. In addition, California employers are prohibited from discriminating against women for breastfeeding. An employer must provide a reasonable unpaid break time to allow a woman to express breast milk, unless such a break would seriously disrupt the business. Employers must also make reasonable efforts to provide a mother with a private space close to her work area, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.
Damages for Pregnancy Discrimination
If you are successful in a lawsuit challenging pregnancy discrimination, monetary damages could include:
- Back pay
- Lost benefits
- Out-of-pocket losses
- Front pay
- Court costs and attorney’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Have you Faced Pregnancy Discrimination?
If you believe you were discriminated against by your employer because of pregnancy, you should speak with a seasoned, sympathetic Los Angeles employment attorney, who can counsel you today as to whether you have a valid case and the potential value of your claim. We will also assist you with filing any charges of discrimination with the EEOC or the DFEH, if appropriate. Please contact Strong Advocates for a complimentary legal case analysis. Call us at (800) 870-9886 or complete the online form on our website to find out how we can help you.