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Pregnancy Discrimination

Experienced Lawyers Assisting Women in the Workplace

Pregnancy DiscriminationMany people find having a baby a joyous experience. However, having a baby can also have negative repercussions for a woman’s career. Although pregnancy discrimination is unlawful under both federal and state laws, many employers harbor negative attitudes and stereotypes about pregnant workers and make decisions accordingly. Pregnancy should not adversely affect your career. If you believe that you faced pregnancy discrimination in your workplace, you should consult the Orange County pregnancy discrimination lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination can occur in many different circumstances. It can involve failure to hire, failure to promote, demotion, disparate pay, termination, or other adverse treatment on the job due to a pregnancy. It can also occur when an employee expresses the desire to be pregnant and is treated adversely as a result. It also happens if a prospective employer fails to hire you because of your pregnancy or if you are not allowed to take leave due to a pregnancy disability. It may include failing to provide you with reasonable accommodations that would allow you to do your job while pregnant or demoting you or giving you fewer hours due to your pregnancy.

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a federal law that amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibits pregnancy discrimination. It applies to employers with a minimum of 15 employees and prohibits discrimination based not only on pregnancy but also on related medical conditions and childbirth. Our pregnancy discrimination attorneys can help Orange County employees assert their rights under this law. Under federal law, you should be treated the same way that other employees in a similar condition are treated. You should not be targeted for adverse treatment because you are pregnant. For instance, if your employer lets an employee with a broken leg go on disability leave, your employer should let you take disability leave for a temporary pregnancy-related disability, such as bed rest.

In many situations, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides greater protections against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace than federal law does.


FEHA prohibits sex discrimination, with sex including pregnancy, medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It applies to employers with at least five employees. Under FEHA, an employer cannot engage in adverse employment practices against you because of your pregnancy. It should not refuse to hire or employ you or bar you from employment or a training program, or discriminate against you in compensation or in the privileges, terms, or conditions of employment.

If you are not hired and believe that it was because of your pregnancy, the court will use a burden-shifting framework. Under this framework, the court will allow discrimination to be inferred from facts that generate a reasonable likelihood of bias and do not have some other satisfactory explanation. Generally, your Orange County pregnancy discrimination attorney will need to show that you were a member of a protected class, you were qualified for the job that you sought, you suffered an adverse employment action, and some other factors suggested a motive to discriminate. If you can show a prima facie case, there is a presumption of discrimination, and your employer will bear the burden of showing that there was a non-discriminatory, legitimate reason for its conduct. If this burden is satisfied, the jury or judge will determine whether there was intentional pregnancy discrimination based on the evidence.

Pregnancy Leave

The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law allows employees to take leave based on any medical condition that arises because of pregnancy, including postpartum depression. Under this law, an employee can be considered disabled by pregnancy if a health care provider opines that she is suffering from certain conditions, such as serious morning sickness, gestational diabetes, loss of pregnancy, or recovery from childbirth, among others. The longest leave that you can take under the law is four months. Your employer should not discriminate or retaliate against you for taking this leave.

Consult a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in Orange County

Having a baby is expensive, and it can be extremely harmful in the midst of a pregnancy to lose your job, face harassment, or be denied the leave that you need for your health and the health of your baby. If we can establish your employer’s liability, we may be able to recover damages for pregnancy discrimination. Our firm represents people in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Call us at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or contact us via our online form.

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