Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
"One of the most heartless and despicable things an employer can do is terminate an employee for becoming pregnant. Fortunately, there are legal remedies available which I have used as a lawyer to great effect over the years to obtain just compensation for my clients who have been victimized by pregnancy discrimination"
- James W. Johnston, Esq. -
There are numerous legal protections available under California and federal law that make pregnancy discrimination against employees unlawful. These legal protections are available even to "at-will" employees, and prohibit employers from wrongfully terminating, harassing or discriminating against pregnant employees. Additionally, both the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Family Rights Act require many employers in this state to provide pregnancy leave and disability leave to pregnant employees if the employee meets the legal requirements for such leave. It has become quite common, however, for employers to commit pregnancy discrimination by fabricating reasons to fire pregnant employees in order to avoid these legal obligations.
If you are a California employee and believe you were terminated because of your pregnancy, you need an experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyer with experience in representing employees who have been victimized by this type of conduct. Attorney Johnston has successfully represented many pregnant employees who were wrongfully terminated, including the pregnant employee who was the subject of a Channel 11 news report on pregnancy discrimination (video at top of page).
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their inability to work. Therefore it is unlawful sex discrimination for an employer to have leave of absence policies that treat disabilities due to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions less beneficially than disabilities due to other medical conditions.
California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law
California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) requires employers who employ 5 or more employees* to provide pregnant employees who are disabled by their pregnancy up to four months of leave. Furthermore, under the PDLL an employer may be required to transfer a pregnant employee to a different job position. Additionally, following a leave taken under the PDLL, a pregnant employee who is qualified to take leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) may also have the right to take an additional 12-week leave. Therefore, in the right circumstances, a pregnant employee may be entitled to 4 months leave under the PDLL, plus an additional 12 weeks of leave under the CFRA. For most purposes, employees who are on pregnancy disability leave must be treated the same as employees on other types of disability leave in terms of pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.
*Please note that if you work for an employer who employs fewer than 5 employees, you still have potential legal remedies if you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination.
25 Years Experience
Mr. Johnston has been a California lawyer for more than 25 years, and is fully qualified to handle your claim. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, harassed or discriminated against because of your pregnancy, we invite you to contact our office and make an appointment to speak with attorney Johnston about your case. If you are a California employee and would like to consult with an employment lawyer in Los Angeles, we invite you to contact our office and make an appointment to speak with attorney Johnston about your case.
Ask a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
If you are a California employee and believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination in your employment, and would like attorney Johnston to review the facts of your claim, please contact us by filling out the form above, or click here to contact us.
More on Pregnancy Discrimination and Disability Leave Law
Right to Reinstatement
Under California's PDLL, an employee returning from leave generally has the right to be reinstated to the same position she held before taking her leave. The two exceptions to this rule are if the position no longer exists, or if because of business necessity, leaving the position unfilled would substantially undermine the employer's ability to operate the business safely and efficiently. If the employee returning from PDLL leave cannot be reinstated in the same position, that employee in most instances has a right to be reinstated in an available comparable position.
Required Notices under the PDLL
Under the PDLL, California employers have an obligation to notify employees of their right to take pregnancy disability leave, and employees have a reciprocal duty to notify their employers of their intention to take such leave. If the need for taking PDLL leave is foreseeable, the employee must give her employer 30 days notice. However, if the need for leave arises suddenly, and without enough time to give the 30 days notice, then the employee is only obligated to give notice to the employer as soon as it is practical.
Selected Pregnancy Discrimination Cases
Badih v. Myers
(1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1289, First District Court of Appeals, Division One. The Court of Appeal upheld a pregnancy discrimination claim under Cal Const art 1, 8, even though the employer was not covered by California's Fair Employment and Housing Act because her employer employed fewer than five employees.
Held: An employee need not exhaust both administrative remedies. Receiving a Department of Fair Employment and Housing "right to sue" letter is a sufficient prerequisite to filing an FEHA claim in superior court.
Akers v. County of San Diego
(2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1441(2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 344, Fourth District Court of Appeals, Division One. The plaintiff, a former deputy district attorney, sued the County of San Diego for pregnancy discrimination and other claims. On appeal, the County contended their was insufficient evidence supported the jury's finding that the plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action, and the court prejudicially erred in instructing on this element. The County also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's finding that its actions in terminating the plaintiff were pretextual. The appeals court rejected the employer's arguments, and found in favor of the plaintiff.
The above information is provided as a courtesy of The Johnston Law Firm, and constitutes only a brief summary of some general employment law, discrimination issues and related legal rights under California law. As such it does not constitute legal advice, and you should contact an attorney to discuss any specific employment issue you may have. For further questions, please contact our office on the forms provided.