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Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy and having a baby are supposed to be a joyful and exciting period in a woman’s life. It should not be a time of stress due to job instability or negative treatment in the workplace due to medical leave. Unfortunately, many pregnant women face difficulties at work during this time. In many cases, these difficulties are the result of pregnancy discrimination.  It may be subtle, but it is illegal.


What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of “sex” or “gender” discrimination in the workplace. It occurs when the pregnancy causes the employer to treat the employee differently or the employee is not getting the support she needs. It often shows up in the following ways:


•  Termination after your employer learns that you are pregnant

•  Failure to accommodate for your pregnancy-related medical appointments 

•  Failure to accommodate for the rest or breaks from work ordered by your physician

•  Failure to comply with medical restrictions ordered by your physician

•  Refusal to accommodate your requests for family leave during or after pregnancy

•  Reduction of your hours or job responsibilities, or reassignment during or after your pregnancy

•  Termination or demotion after you return from maternity leave

•  Hostility or retaliation against you for seeking the accommodations described above.

Unfortunately, many employers still do not get it when it comes to pregnancy discrimination.   Fortunately, California statutes give women strong protections against pregnancy discrimination and harassment in the workplace.  These statutes include the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Pregnancy Disability Act, and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)


Laws that Prohibit Pregnancy Discrimination 


Under Federal law Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which makes pregnancy discrimination unlawful.  Its counterpart in California is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  Both statutes set forth that pregnancy discrimination is a form of “sex” or “gender” discrimination.  


As a pregnant woman, you have a right to be treated no differently than a non-pregnant employee, as long as you are able to do your work.  Pregnant women must be given the same modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability, or unpaid leave provided to other employees. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions.

Under these laws, your employer cannot:

  • Fire or demote you because you’re pregnant or planning to be pregnant

  • Slowly phase out your job duties as due date approaches

  • Threaten whether you will have the same job after maternity leave

  • Deny you time off for doctor appointments

  • Refuse reasonable work accommodations as required by your doctor

Click here to learn about Maternity Leave, Family Leave, and Lactation Rights.

Call us for a free consultation.


If you believe your current or past employer has violated these anti-discrimination laws or has terminated, harassed or retaliated against you because of your pregnancy, give us a call for a free, confidential consultation.  Our office generally works on a contingency-fee basis for these claims and we do not collect fees unless we obtain money for you.  Our Firm will fight tirelessly to protect and defend the rights of every employee to work in a place that is fair and free from discrimination and harassment. 


Call the Falchetti Law Firm at (626) 831-9070  or email us here.

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