What Counts as Pregnancy Discrimination in California?

Pregnancy should be a joyful time for expectant mothers but sadly, some pregnant people experience discrimination in the workplace due to their condition. In the state of California, pregnancy discrimination is illegal. However, some may ask, “What counts as pregnancy discrimination in California?” Learn about workers’ rights for pregnant people in California, and see how you can benefit from the help of a Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer.

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

It is an unfortunate reality that some business owners and employers view pregnancy as a burden to their business. Instead of being supportive of news about an employee expecting a baby, the employer might be frustrated because of the impact that it could have on the company’s performance due to temporarily having a worker out of commission. In instances such as this, it is not uncommon for the employer to take action against the pregnant employee.

What these employers should keep in mind, however, is that discrimination against a pregnant employee could hurt their business even more than being down a worker for a few months. That is because California does not allow employers to discriminate or harass pregnant workers. As such, pregnant workers who experienced discrimination have the right to seek compensation and file a claim against their employer.

Your Rights as a Pregnant Individual

According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or DFEH, an employer cannot discriminate against employees due to pregnancy, childbirth, or any medical condition resulting from their pregnancy. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition related to your pregnancy, you have the right to:

  • Reasonable accommodation in the workplace. Your employer is required to modify your work duties or working conditions if medically necessary. They may also be required to move you to a less strenuous or hazardous position if one exists.
  • Pregnancy disability leave, or PDL. As a pregnant worker, you have the right to take up to four months of PDL as deemed medically necessary by your healthcare provider. Your employer is also required to allow you to return to your same job or a comparable job when you return to work.
  • Lactation breaks in a private area. If you need to express breast milk, your employer must allow you to take the time to do so in privacy.

Your Responsibilities Under California Law

As a pregnant worker, it is your responsibility to inform your employer in a timely manner if you need to take PDL or have reasonable accommodations made in your workplace. Generally, you should give your employer 30 days’ advance notice if your medical needs are foreseeable. Otherwise, you should inform them as quickly as possible if your medical needs are not foreseeable or an emergency.

You may also be required to provide your employer with a written medical certification from your healthcare provider, which can prove that you need to take PDL or require workplace accommodations.

Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination

Examples of pregnancy discrimination can include:

  • Not allowing an employee who recently gave childbirth time to express breast milk or providing a private area for the employee to do so
  • Punishing an employee for asking for an accommodation, such as a chair or a stool to sit on
  • Firing an employee on the basis of their pregnancy
  • Demoting a worker to a lower-ranking position when they return to work after taking pregnancy disability leave
  • Refusing to hire a prospective employee because they are pregnant

If you or a loved one were a victim of pregnancy discrimination, it is advisable to talk to an employment attorney who has experience representing clients in pregnancy discrimination cases. They can help you understand your legal options for rectifying your injustice and seeking compensation from your employer for their wrongdoing. A knowledgeable attorney can help you prove your pregnancy discrimination case and take action against your employer.


Q: What Are Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination?

A: The examples of pregnancy discrimination include:

  • Terminating a pregnant employee solely because of their condition
  • Penalizing an employee for taking required pregnancy disability leave that was deemed medically necessary by their healthcare provider
  • Refusing to allow an employee to take breaks in a private place to express breast milk after returning to work following the birth of a child

Q: How Can You Prove Discrimination During Pregnancy?

A: To prove that you were discriminated against by your employer during pregnancy, you must show that your employer violated your rights as a pregnant worker. In California, pregnant workers’ rights are defined by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. You must also prove that your employer’s actions against you were specifically because of your pregnancy.

It can be helpful to keep a record of your interactions with your employer, such as copies of emails or messages, if you believe that you are being discriminated against due to your pregnancy.

Q: How Much Is a Pregnancy Discrimination Settlement in California?

A: The amount for a pregnancy discrimination settlement in California will vary from one case to the next. The settlement amount can have multiple factors, such as the extensiveness of the discrimination and the impact it had on the individual experiencing the discrimination. It is recommended that you talk to a pregnancy discrimination attorney, as they can give you a better idea of what your pregnancy discrimination case could be worth.

Q: Can You Lay Off a Pregnant Woman in California?

A: Yes, you can lay off a pregnant woman in California as long as their pregnancy is not the reason they are being laid off. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing prevents employers from terminating employees on the sole basis of pregnancy. If you can prove that you lost your job due to pregnancy, you may have a pregnancy discrimination case. Then, you could pursue compensation for the unjust actions of your employer.

Consult a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney

No pregnant person should ever feel like they do not have options for seeking justice if they were discriminated against in their place of employment due to their pregnancy. The employment law attorneys of Park APC are dedicated to helping pregnancy discrimination victims get the justice they deserve according to California employment laws. They serve clients in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas with trustworthy legal guidance.

Contact Park APC today for a consultation and to understand what actions you can take if you have experienced pregnancy discrimination.