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What Are My Rights as a Pregnant Employee in California?

Picture of pregnant employee on computer

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), almost 47 percent of workers in the nation are women. Many of these women will become pregnant at least once during their working years.  Historically, pregnant women have been subjected to unwarranted harassment and discrimination by their employers.  Fortunately, both federal and state laws exist to help pregnant employees fight back for their rights. Yet, even with these strict laws in place, pregnancy discrimination in the workplace still continues. If you are pregnant, then it is important to understand your pregnant employee rights in California. At Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP, our pregnancy discrimination lawyers are here to help. We can help safeguard your employment rights every step of the way.

What Are the Federal and State Laws That Protect Pregnant Workers?

For many decades, pregnant women experienced harassment and discrimination in the workplace. To protect them, lawmakers passed a variety of laws at both the state and federal levels.

For example, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is a federal law that is part of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. It prohibits employers from firing an employee because she is pregnant. It also prevents workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. However, this law only applies to employers with more than 15 employees. Under this law, an employer cannot:

  • Refuse to hire a candidate based on her pregnancy or future ability to conceive children
  • Fire an employee because of pregnancy
  • Deny an employee a promotion or raise because of pregnancy
  • Refuse to allow an employee to take time off for pregnancy-related medical issues or childbirth
  • Fail to leave the pregnant employee’s position open for a certain amount of time.

Similarly, the Fair Labor Standards Act protects pregnant employee rights. It ensures that employers provide reasonable accommodations for their pregnant employees, including breaks to pump breast milk. Also, an employer cannot retaliate against a pregnant employee or dock her pay due to these accommodations.

In conjunction with federal laws, pregnant workers in California are protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This law prevents an employer from discriminating against or harassing any employee due to his or her sex. This discrimination includes pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding situations.

Finally, California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law covers any medical condition that an employee suffers during her pregnancy. This includes morning sickness and postpartum depression. If you are suffering from one of these conditions, then your employer must provide you with accommodations and leave. This protection begins from the first day of your employment.

How Can I Protect My Pregnant Employee Rights in California?

Any form of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable. That is why it is important to learn about your pregnant employee rights. After all, understanding your rights is the first step towards protecting them.

However, if your rights as a pregnant employee are violated, then your first step is to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Both agencies have a work-sharing agreement, meaning that they work with one another to process a claim.

As an investigation into your claim is conducted, it is important to explore all of your legal options. Hiring an attorney at this time is a critical step. The claims process will run easier with the help of an experienced Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer.

Contact Our Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

At Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP, our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers are here to help. We will hold employers who violate pregnant employee rights accountable for their actions. Call us today at (310) 499-0140 for a free consultation. You can also fill out our online confidential contact form. We will address your legal concerns and fight aggressively to protect your employment rights.

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