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Frequently Asked Questions About Pregnancy Discrimination

Our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys in Los Angeles Are Here to Answer Your Questions

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 made it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy. Unfortunately, this did not prevent pregnancy discrimination from becoming a serious problem in the workplace. Our pregnancy discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles may be able to help you pursue legal action and hold your employer accountable for any misconduct.

Many pregnant women face discrimination in every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing and promoting. The Los Angeles employment attorneys at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani have successfully litigated claims involving pregnancy discrimination. We have developed a list of frequently asked pregnancy discrimination questions, along with answers to each question.

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers in Los Angeles Answer Common Questions

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is defined as the unfavorable treatment of an employee or job applicant based on pregnancy or the ability to become pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can occur in many forms. However, this type of discrimination involves pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition.

Is Pregnancy a Protected Class?

Yes. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy. Under the PDA, employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from engaging in pregnancy discrimination. However, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers with 5 or more employees from engaging in pregnancy discrimination.

What Evidence Is Required to Prove Pregnancy Discrimination?

To successfully win a pregnancy discrimination claim, an employee must provide evidence showing that her pregnancy was a substantial motivating reason for an adverse employment (such as a demotion, a write up and, of course, a termination) and that other employees in similar situations were treated differently.

Evidence can come in many forms. It can be testimony about what someone saw or heard. It can be an exhibit admitted into evidence. It can be someone’s opinion. Broadly speaking, there are two types of evidence that can be used during a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit:

  • Direct evidence. Direct evidence can prove a fact by itself. For example, sometimes your employer will make direct statements that directly establish pregnancy discrimination. Direct evidence, such a text message, is generally viewed more favorably by a jury. However, in most cases, the employer will not admit to their discriminatory motives by creating a documented trail of its own animus towards pregnant employees. Therefore, pregnancy discrimination lawyers frequently rely on other types of evidence to build their case against an employer.
  • Circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence. For example, an employee who had consistently received positive evaluations over a long period of time but then is reprimanded immediately after disclosing a pregnancy could argue that the timing of the reprimand is indirect (or circumstantial) evidence of the employer’s animus towards pregnant employees. Another form of indirect evidence is when an employer deviates from company policy and acts outside of the norm to treat a pregnant employee worse than others. In order to win your case, you must show that your pregnancy was more likely than not the primary cause of your employer’s mistreatment.

What Are the Rules for Taking Maternity Leave in California?

Most employees can take time off during and after a pregnancy to bond with their child. Under California law, there are three forms of maternity leave. They include:

  • Pregnancy disability leave. If you are disabled due to your pregnancy or the birth of your child, then you can receive up to four months of maternity leave.
  • Family leave. An employee can take up to 12 weeks of family leave if they work for an employer that employs 20 or more people.
  • Reasonable accommodation leave. If you are suffering from a pregnancy-related disability, then your employer may be required to provide you with accommodations, including a leave, even when other forms of more formal leaves might not be available to you (because you exhausted those leaves or because your employer does not have the minimum required employees).

Can You Fire a Pregnant Woman for Taking Maternity Leave?

The Parental Leave Act took effect on January 1st, 2018. It helped create job security for women in California who take maternity leave. Under this legislation, you cannot be fired for taking maternity leave if you meet certain criteria. Your job is protected if you:

  • Have worked for your current employer for at least one year before taking maternity leave.
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours throughout the past year.
  • Work for an employer that employs at least 20 people within a 75-mile radius.
  • Work for an employer that employs at least 50 people worldwide.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act also imposes separate obligations on employers who employ at least 5 employees and prohibits them from firing employees because of their pregnancy or pregnancy-related disabilities.

Is It Legal for My Boss to Demote or Fire Me After Returning From Maternity Leave?

No. Employees in California cannot face discrimination for choosing to take maternity leave. You have a legal right to return to your same (or similar) position once your maternity leave is over. Your employer is also not allowed to reduce your pay once you return.

If your employer chooses to demote or fire you after returning from maternity leave, then our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers will aggressively defend your interests in court.

What Is the Process for Filing a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim?

Before you file a pregnancy discrimination claim with a court, you have to first file an administrative claim through the state agency, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Both agencies have a work-sharing agreement, which means that they work with one another to process a claim.

When filing a complaint with the DFEH, you must complete an intake form. By submitting this form, you are agreeing to initiate an intake interview with a department representative. He or she will determine whether your complaint will be accepted for an official investigation. We strongly recommend that you consult a Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination attorney before you even initiate this administrative process.

Contact Our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys in Los Angeles for Legal Advice

You should never have to face pregnancy discrimination as an employee or an applicant. If you believe that you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, then you should retain the services of a Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination attorney. Contact the Los Angeles employment attorneys at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani today at (310) 499-0140 for a free evaluation. We handle pregnancy discrimination cases and pregnancy harassment cases. You can also contact us online and provide us with more information about your case.