California Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

Standing Up for Those Discriminated Against Because of Pregnancy in California

California law protects the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. As an employee, it is important to be aware of your rights so you can address instances when they are violated. Most employers must refrain from engaging in behaviors deemed pregnancy discrimination. They must also provide state-mandated leave for workers considered disabled due to “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

Our team at Valiant Law assists employees in taking action against employers failing to meet their legal obligations. We can advise you of your rights and options and help you submit a claim for pregnancy discrimination. If we are unable to settle your case through talks and negotiations, we are prepared to represent your interests in court. 

Have you been discriminated against for being pregnant? Schedule a consultation with our California pregnancy discrimination attorney by contacting us at (909) 254-5771 today.

Understanding California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave

Both state and federal laws affect employers. At the federal level, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act broadly prohibits employers from treating an employee differently because of pregnancy. This means that, among other things, an employer cannot fire or demote a pregnant worker. If the employee is unable to perform essential job duties because of pregnancy or a related condition, the employer must treat the worker the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. 

California law goes a step further and requires all businesses with at least five employees to provide up to four months of pregnancy disability leave (PDL). The employer does not necessarily have to pay the employee during PDL, depending on their general policy for other kinds of leave.

Regardless of whether PDL is paid or unpaid, the employee must be allowed to return to the same position they held before their pregnancy. Your employer violates the law if they replace you with someone else. However, your employer must make reasonable accommodations related to a request for less strenuous or light work if it is available. 

The Responsibilities of Management Combating Against Pregnancy Discrimination

Beyond leave and workplace accommodations, your employer must also ensure that managers and co-workers do not engage in illegal pregnancy harassment. For example, a manager should never make derogatory remarks to a pregnant employee or imply that they are incapable of performing their job. They should also never retaliate against a pregnant worker in any way. If your employer engages in such conduct, you could take legal action against them for pregnancy discrimination.

Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination

Common examples include:

  • Refusal to Hire: An employer may refuse to hire a qualified candidate upon learning that she is pregnant. This refusal is illegal if the pregnancy was the sole reason for not offering the position.
  • Termination or Layoff: If an employee is fired or laid off after announcing her pregnancy, this could be a clear case of discrimination. Employers sometimes use false reasons to justify the termination, masking the true discriminatory motive.
  • Denial of Promotions or Opportunities: Pregnant employees may be unfairly passed over for promotions or other career advancement opportunities based solely on their pregnancy status, assuming they will not be able to perform their duties.
  • Unlawful Demotion: Demoting a pregnant employee to a lesser position, reducing her pay, or altering her job responsibilities without valid reasons linked to her performance is discriminatory.
  • Harassment or Hostile Work Environment: Pregnant employees may face harassment, such as derogatory comments about their pregnancy, inappropriate jokes, or excessive scrutiny of their work. A hostile work environment can significantly affect an employee's mental and physical health.
  • Denial of Reasonable Accommodations: Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, such as more frequent breaks, light-duty assignments, or modified work schedules. Denying such accommodations can be a form of discrimination.
  • Retaliation: Retaliating against an employee for complaining about pregnancy discrimination or for participating in a related investigation is illegal. This includes any adverse action taken against the employee in response to their complaint.

What Proof Do I Need in a Pregnancy Discrimination Case?

Here are the types of proof that can support a pregnancy discrimination claim:

  • Direct Evidence: Direct evidence includes explicit statements or actions by the employer that clearly indicate discrimination. For instance, if a supervisor directly states that an employee is being terminated because of her pregnancy, this is strong direct evidence.
  • Documentation: Maintaining thorough records is essential. Keep copies of emails, performance reviews, written warnings, and any other relevant documents. These can help demonstrate a pattern of discrimination or show inconsistencies in the employer's justification for adverse actions.
  • Witness Testimonies: Witnesses who observed discriminatory behavior or heard discriminatory remarks can provide valuable testimonies. Colleagues who can corroborate your claims can strengthen your case significantly.
  • Comparative Evidence: Showing that non-pregnant employees in similar situations were treated more favorably can be powerful evidence. This might include comparing job assignments, promotions, or disciplinary actions taken against pregnant versus non-pregnant employees.
  • Timeline of Events: A clear timeline of events leading up to and following the discriminatory actions can help establish a connection between your pregnancy and the adverse employment actions. Document all interactions and changes in your work conditions.
  • Performance Records: Evidence of your work performance, such as positive performance reviews or commendations, can counter any claims that the adverse action was based on poor performance. This helps to demonstrate that the discrimination was based on pregnancy and not job performance.
  • Medical Records: Medical records confirming your pregnancy and any related medical conditions can be necessary to establish the basis for your claim. These records can also support any requests for reasonable accommodations.

Contact Our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney in California Today

Valiant Law can review the particulars of your case, including policies, training, reports, or correspondence related to your claim. We can explore and explain various options for pursuing justice on your behalf.

Call our California pregnancy discrimination lawyer at (909) 254-5771 or contact us online for help speaking out against wrongful workplace practices.

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