Translate to: Espanol

Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

So, you’ve just given birth, or you’re expecting a baby in a few months. But, what should only be a cause for celebration and pride, also turns into a source of concern and, even worse, discrimination. For example, you go to a job interview, and as soon as it’s evident you are pregnant, you are out of contention. Or, if you are in employment, your boss starts treating you differently.

If any of those experiences sound familiar, you’ve been a victim of pregnancy discrimination. Fortunately, you are not as helpless as you may think. Both federal and California state laws have provisions that offer you protection against pregnancy discrimination.

The Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Eldessouky Law are here to help you navigate this tricky situation.

Read on to learn more about pregnancy discrimination in California, what it entails, and the steps you can take to get justice.

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination refers to situations where employers treat pregnant job applicants and employees less favorably due to their pregnancy. In addition to federal law, California also prohibits discriminatory actions against pregnant and nursing mothers.

Pregnancy discrimination also counts as a form of sexual discrimination and is a serious offense. Therefore, if you suspect it’s taking place in the workplace, reach out to a pregnancy discrimination lawyer for legal counsel.

Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms. Some may be subtle such as passing remarks that leave you questioning if it’s actually discrimination. Others are more direct and can immediately impact your esteem, mental health, and even job status. 

Some of the primary forms of pregnancy discrimination include:

  • Not hiring a woman because she is or may become pregnant
  • Reassigning, demoting, or firing (wrongful termination)

Accommodations for Pregnancy-Related Disabilities

It’s important to note that pregnancy is not a disability. However, the biological changes taking place in your body may lead to some physical and mental impairments, even after birth. As such, it may affect your ability to perform some of your work-related tasks.

However, this is not grounds for discrimination. California’s law clearly indicates that as long as an employee is able to perform the key function of their job, they’re eligible for protection. Also, your employer is legally obliged to provide you with the necessary accommodations to continue working. 

Such accommodations may come in the form of adjusting your work schedule or environment. However, this obligation only exists if it’s not significantly expensive or difficult.

Being pregnant alone does not qualify for such pregnancy disability. It’s only applicable if a doctor determines that you cannot perform certain functions of your job or if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Severe morning sickness
  • Post-partum depression
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Loss or end of pregnancy and the recovery after that

As you may notice, pregnancy disability comes after a significant life activity.

Settlements You Can Recover

Should your employer choose to discriminate against you because of your pregnancy, you can take legal action against them. With the help of your employment attorney, you can recover damages for:

  • Hours cut
  • Wage reduction
  • Wrongful termination
  • Non-coverage of maternity leave
  • Emotional trauma
  • Family & Medical Leave Act violation

A Los Angeles employment lawyer will help you determine if your rights have been violated, the damages you can recover, and the steps to take.

Which Employers Can be Held Responsible?

Although California laws prohibit pregnancy discrimination, not all employers can be held responsible. Therefore, the first thing you should do before visiting a California labor attorney is to find out whether your employer is subject to the law.

As per California pregnancy discrimination laws, an employer can be held responsible if they satisfy any of the following conditions:

  • It’s an individual or business for whom five or more people regularly work
  • The employer plays the role of an agent of a covered employer
  • If the employer is a local or state government institution

It’s important to note that under these regulations, coworkers, supervisors, and managers, are often not held personally responsible for their discriminatory actions, except if they are the employer. On the other hand, their employers can be held responsible for such actions.

There are also organizations that are exempt from California anti-discrimination laws. This includes certain organizations and religious nonprofit institutions that are not considered to be ’employers.’

Also, if your employer is a spouse, parent, or child, California’s anti-discrimination laws cannot protect you.

What Laws Protect Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee in California

Your rights as an employee do not change due to pregnancy. As with all other employees, your workplace should be safe and comfortable without discrimination or hostility. In addition, depending on your pregnancy, you may also gain special rights. 

Sadly, it’s not uncommon for employers to begin discriminating against expectant mothers simply because they are pregnant. Fortunately, different laws protect your rights as a pregnant employee.

1. Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal statute that prohibits pregnancy discrimination by employers. It was enacted in 1978, and it compels employers to provide reasonable pregnancy accommodations, similar to what they may offer for disabilities, injuries, and health conditions.

Failure to provide such reasonable accommodations exposes the employer to pregnancy discrimination lawsuits, for which they are liable to pay damages. 

2. California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Under the California Family Rights Act, pregnant women should be allowed to take a reasonable leave which should not exceed four months. If they have any viable vacation leave, they can also use it during this period. 

In addition, the employer should also maintain pay during pregnancy or childbirth-related reasonable leave period.

3. California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act is yet another state regulation that protects pregnant women. It illegalizes pregnancy discrimination and primarily focuses on employers with at least five workers. In addition, as per FEHA, employers are required to inform pregnant employees about their leave rights during pregnancy and after giving birth.

On top of these primary discrimination laws, there are also other pregnancy discrimination laws. These include:

  • The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law
  • The Federal Family and Medical leave act
  • The New parent Leave Act

As you can see, there are plenty of laws and regulations designed to protect your rights during pregnancy and after childbirth. However, if you need clarification on any of the laws, a discrimination attorney can help.

What Are the Necessary Elements for a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim?

For your claim to be successful, there are facts that you must be able to prove. These make up the ‘elements’ of a successful claim. They include:

  • Your employer is subject to federal or state pregnancy discrimination laws
  • The employer performed a discriminatory act
  • Your pregnancy is one of the causes of the employer’s discrimination
  • The discrimination resulted in harm such as emotional distress or lost wages

Receiving compensation for your losses greatly depends on whether you can prove these elements. This is one of the key areas where an employment lawyer can assist you. They’ll help you determine the necessary evidence to collect and present your case in a court of law if it gets there. 

Once you prove all the elements, the remedies may involve:

  • Full reinstatement
  • Front pay
  • Back pay
  • Compensation for out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Pregnancy discrimination attorney fees
  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional distress damages

How Can You Prove Pregnancy Discrimination?

Due to the weight of the allegations, pregnancy discrimination claims need to be accompanied by compelling evidence. There are two primary ways for you to prove such claims; by providing direct or circumstantial evidence. 

As the name suggests, direct evidence is proof that clearly indicates that there is discrimination. This often comes in the form of comments made to you or about you. On the other hand, circumstantial evidence may require you to show how two things that are not necessarily related are connected. 

For instance, if you are demoted or denied an opportunity that you fully deserve in the workplace, you may have grounds for a claim. However, with such an example, you will need to show that you have been performing your role exemplarily and that the adverse action is due to your pregnancy-related disability.

Unless you have irrefutable direct evidence, your employer will likely present a non-discriminatory reason for the action. As such, your evidence should be compelling enough to quash those claims. 

Why You Should Hire an Employment Attorney

When filing a claim against your employer for pregnancy discrimination, you are not required to have a lawyer. Nonetheless, as with all other legal procedures, it’s highly advisable to have one.

Due to the complexity of the law, the need to prove your allegations, and other factors that may come into play, such cases are rarely ever straightforward. Having a pregnancy discrimination lawyer by your side may just be what you need to swing the tide to your favor. They will help you:

  • Assess the value of your claim
  • Collect the necessary information to prove your claim
  • Interpret the law and present evidence in a compelling way
  • Maximize potential damages

However, the most significant benefit of hiring an employment lawyer is that you will be sure of going at it the right way. When an employee handles their own pregnancy discrimination claim, they’re likely to make mistakes. If this happens, regardless of how little the mistake is, it can jeopardize your claim.

Statute of Limitations

A key feature within pregnancy discrimination laws is the timeline allowed for filing such complaints. The duration specifically for your case will depend on whether you are filing the claim under federal or state law.

Statute of Limitations Under State Law

If you are filing under state law, you should do so via California’s Fair Employment and Housing Department. From the date of the alleged act of discrimination, you only have one year to file your claim.

After the administrative process is over, DFEH will issue you with a right-to-sue letter. From the date this letter is issued, you have one year to file your complaint in a civil court. 

Statute of Limitations Under Federal Law

Should you choose to file your complaint using federal law, you can do so via the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the DFEH. From the date of the alleged act of discrimination, you have 300 days to file your complaint. Once a right to sue letter is issued by either agency, you’ll have 90 days to file your lawsuit.

It’s important to note that there are exceptions to the limits with both the federal and state statutes. Therefore, even if you think your claim may not be viable, talk to an employment attorney immediately to know if you can take action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the common questions regarding pregnancy discrimination in California include:

1. Can I Fail a Claim for Pregnancy Discrimination?

As a California resident, both federal and state laws protect you from pregnancy discrimination. If your employer subjects you through such, you can file a claim with the help of an employment lawyer.

2. What Qualifies as Pregnancy Discrimination?

Many different actions can qualify as pregnancy discrimination. These include demotion, failure to offer reasonable accommodations, denying you reasonable leave, etc.

3. Should I Hire an Attorney for a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim?

Even if your case seems fairly straightforward, any misstep can ruin your claim. An attorney’s experience with such matters will give you the best chance of getting a desirable outcome.

It Takes to Courage to Fight Against Discrimination

Whether verbal or through demeaning acts, discrimination should not be tolerated. Beyond the professional implications it may have, it may also affect your self-esteem and mental health. This is why you need to be brave and take action. The good thing is, you do not have to be alone in this fight. 

Eldessoucky Law is a California-based law firm committed to helping individuals such as yourself with pregnancy discrimination claims. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

  • Free and Confidential Consultation Get Legal Help Today
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Conference Call We are available for video conference calls
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Eldessouky Law
  • Free and Confidential Consultation Get Legal Help Today * Required Fields
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content