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Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers in Los Angeles

Leading Advocates for Pregnant Workers Across California

Our experienced employment discrimination attorneys are committed to helping women and new parents stand up for their right to have children and earn a living wage.

We are one of the only firms in the state that specifically focus on pregnancy discrimination cases. We are leaders in this field and take on a wide range of cases, including cases with a relatively small dollar value, because we are activists. We want to change the playing field so new mothers and all family caregivers can fairly compete in our economy.

We will not stop until employers no longer fire pregnant workers because hiring a temp is too much of a “hassle.” We will not stop until employers no longer fire pregnant employees to avoid paying for their medical insurance during their leave. We will not stop until firing you or discriminating against you is not just a “cost of doing business.”

We believe that pregnancy discrimination is an issue of basic human rights. Every woman and family who stands up against pregnancy discrimination is helping pave the way for a future with true economic equality for women and caregivers.

Download Your Free Pregnant at Work Guide

What Does Illegal Pregnancy Discrimination Look Like?

Pregnancy discrimination takes many forms. In California, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for any of these pregnancy-related reasons:

  • Wrongful Termination: It is illegal for your employer to fire you for having a child, being pregnant, or planning to become pregnant. Your employer also cannot terminate you because of “pregnancy-related medical conditions,” like being on bedrest, postpartum depression, or breastfeeding. With few exceptions, your employer cannot terminate you while you are on maternity or parental leave.
  • Hiring Discrimination: It is illegal to fire or not hire someone because they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. In fact, employers are prohibited from asking female applicants whether they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. However, many employers continue to ask job applicants about pregnancies and decline to hire pregnant women.
  • Discrimination in Job Duties: It is illegal for your employer to demote you or change your job assignment due to your pregnancy. Your employer must also let you work if you can perform your job and must allow you to return to work if you have been absent due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related health conditions (although they can require a medical certification to return to work).
  • Failure to Accommodate Work Restrictions: Your employer is required to make a good faith effort to accommodate your pregnancy-related disabilities or work restrictions. This includes transfer to a less strenuous position, providing you with a modified work schedule, and providing you with modified equipment, among other things.
  • Failure to Accommodate Disability or Baby-Bonding Leave: If you are pregnant or recently had a child, it is illegal for your employer to refuse to allow you to take leaves for medical appointments, for a pregnancy-related disability, or for bonding after your child’s birth.
  • Pay Discrimination: It is illegal for your employer to pay you less because you recently had a child, because you are pregnant, or because you plan to become pregnant.

If you experienced discrimination due to your pregnancy, or another type of employment law violation, contact us.

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Let Us Fight on Your Behalf.

We fight for fair workplaces and fair markets for all Californians.

Common Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination

While pregnancy discrimination can take many forms, common instances of discrimination we help clients seek justice for include:

  • An employer fires a pregnant woman for “performance issues” shortly before her maternity leave so they can hire a full-time, permanent replacement.
  • An employer claims that a pregnant employee’s performance, "focus," or "dedication" has slipped since they had a child or became pregnant and denies them promotions or bonuses.
  • An employer "eliminates" a pregnant employee’s position while they are on leave and hires a new employee for a similar role who isn’t pregnant.
  • An employer demotes a pregnant worker so she will no longer be covered by the employer’s health plan during her maternity leave.
  • An employer fires a pregnant worker so it does not have to pay for her child’s premiums on the employer’s health plan.
  • An employer refuses to repurpose an empty office for a lactation room and instead forces a new parent to pump in the bathroom.
  • An employer counts absences for pregnancy-related medical appointments against the employee under a “no-fault” attendance policy.
  • An employer allows its supervisors to mock a pregnant woman for being sick, being tired, or needing accommodations.
  • An employer fails to order cheap and readily-available equipment to protect a pregnant worker.
  • An employer refuses to allow a pregnant worker to sit down or take additional breaks
  • Many employers openly question whether female employees who recently gave birth continue to be sufficiently "devoted" to the business.

Call (213) 214-3757 to request a free case consultation with King & Siegel LLP today.

How to Complain About Denied Accommodations

First, you can make clear that your need for accommodation is urgent. Depending on the severity of your employer’s failure to accommodate, you can make clear that you will not work until legally compliant accommodations are granted.

Unfortunately, while you have legal rights, not much can be done to force your employer to comply with the law if they are intent on ignoring it. You may find yourself in a situation where you must choose between breastfeeding and working.

You should know that if you resign, you may still be able to pursue a wrongful termination case based on your employer’ failure to accommodate you. This is called a “constructive discharge.”

What if My Employer Broke the Rules?

If you believe you have experienced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on your pregnancy, or if you have been denied your right to leave, you can contact a pregnancy discrimination attorney.

You should choose an attorney with a specific focus on pregnancy discrimination. They will be familiar with the complicated leave laws at play, the common medical issues that arise, and the damage that pregnancy discrimination does to the families suffering from it.

Our office provides free case reviews for all potential pregnancy discrimination clients. This is a specialty area of practice and one that we are deeply passionate about.

Ready to Fight For The Justice You Deserve

If you experienced discrimination due to your pregnancy, or another type of employment law violation, contact us today!

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FAQ: Pregnancy Discrimination

  • Do I have a right to accommodations at work on account of my pregnancy?

    If you are pregnant and need reasonable accommodations at work, your employer is required to engage in an interactive process and attempt to accommodate your needs. For instance, if your doctor has advised you that you cannot lift heavy boxes, cannot spend time in extreme heat, cannot spend hours on your feet without a break, or other pregnancy-related health advisories, then you can ask your employer to accommodate you by relieving you of particular duties or transitioning you to a temporary position of comparable status and pay. If your employer fails to accommodate you, you may have a cause of action for pregnancy discrimination.

  • Do I have a right to paid or unpaid leave?

    The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law authorizes up to four months' unpaid leave for employees disabled by pregnancy-related medical conditions. For example, if you are instructed to remain on bed rest, or if you have medical complications resulting from childbirth, you may be entitled to up to four months' unpaid leave due to your temporary disability. Your employer cannot terminate or discipline you for exercising this right. Leave under the PDDL can be used before or after childbirth, as long as the medical condition is pregnancy-related. In addition to an employee's rights under the PDDL, the California Family Rights Act and New Parents Leave Act requires employers with 20 or more employees within a 75-mile radius to allow new parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This right applies to new parents of any gender, and employers are prohibited from canceling group health coverage during parental leave. If you have a pregnancy-related disability, your employer may be required to grant additional leave beyond what's required by the PDDL and New Parents' Leave Act. Although there is no requirement that employers provide paid parental leave, you can receive partial wages, up to 70% or a cap of approximately $1,200, for six weeks through California's paid family leave program.

  • What are my rights if I’m breastfeeding?

    All California employers are required to accommodate the needs of breastfeeding employees by ensuring access to adequate facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. In general, the law does not require employers to allow employees to breastfeed their infants at work. However, employees are entitled to breaks throughout the day to express breast milk. As long as you are nursing, you may take breaks to express breast milk. Your employer also must provide you with a private room or space in which to express breast milk. A toilet stall is not adequate for breastfeeding purposes. Moreover, you cannot be harassed on account of pumping or breastfeeding.

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Learn Why People Trust King & Siegel LLP
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    We started King & Siegel because we believe that the same aggressive, skilled, and passionate litigation tactics we learned at big firms could and should be available to workers and consumers in their most critical legal moments—when you are harassed, assaulted, demoted, fired, defrauded, or exploited by the institutions you rely on.

  • Our Firm is Dedicated to Excellence

    We graduated from top five law schools, including Harvard and NYU, and trained at the country's biggest and best litigation firms. As contingency attorneys, you don't pay us unless you win, which means our incentives are 100% aligned. We win if you win. It's that simple.

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Experienced & Dedicated Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers King & Siegel LLP is Ready to Fight For The Justice You Deserve

Few employment law firms specialize in pregnancy discrimination cases. These cases often involve specific medical issues unique to pregnant workers and require an attorney to interpret a maze of complicated leave laws. We are passionate about pregnancy-related discrimination cases and devote a large portion of our practice to this specialized set of cases. Statistics show that women earn about the same as men until they have children, when the wage gaps immediately hits women the hardest. The only way to stop this pattern is to stand up to pregnancy discrimination when it happens. We are here to help.