San Francisco Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

San Francisco Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

San Francisco Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

Even as expectant mothers look forward to the birth of their babies, they may have concerns about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. They may worry about requesting time off or being away from work for reasons related to pregnancy.  Some California employers choose to treat the pregnant worker differently as compared to other employees in the workplace based on the employee’s pregnancy or disability caused by pregnancy.

Discrimination on account of pregnancy is unlawful under US and California law. Employees who experience pregnancy-related discrimination have rights, and our team at Minnis & Smallets LLP can help enforce them. Affected workers should contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a San Francisco pregnancy discrimination lawyer right away. An overview on how the laws work may also be useful.

Federal and State Pregnancy Discrimination Statutes Protect California Employees

Under the federal Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee on account of pregnancy and related medical conditions. Generally, this means that it is unlawful for an employer to treat a worker differently from others or take adverse action because of pregnancy. Examples include:

  • Refusing to hire a pregnant job candidate;
  • Terminate a current employee because of pregnancy;
  • Demoting or reducing salary because of pregnancy;
  • Taking away health care or employment benefits that other employees enjoy; and,
  • Changing the work schedule, location, job duties, or other conditions.

Plus, the laws require an employer to make reasonable accommodations if the employee is unable to work because of pregnancy. Unless doing so would be excessively expensive or burdensome, the employer must provide accommodations so that individuals can perform her essential job functions.

Legal Remedies for Employees

Under both state and federal statutes, employees must initiate a pregnancy discrimination claim by filing a complaint with the relevant administrative agency:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which oversees discrimination cases arising under PDA; or,
  • The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which has enforcement authority regarding FEHA.

FEHA is broader than the federal pregnancy discrimination statute, so it may be the preferred option for employees who work for smaller companies. It applies to all California employers with five or more workers, whereas PDA only affects companies with 15 or more employees.

If the employee already has an attorney, the employee may request an immediate right to sue, which allows the employee to file directly in court. If the employee does not have an attorney, then upon filing a claim, the proceedings through DFEH and EEOC are similar. The agency may request the employer to respond to pregnancy discrimination claims, it may conduct an investigation, or both. Eventually, the DFEH or EEOC may issue a right to sue, which allows the employee to file her lawsuit in court.

Set Up a Consultation with a San Francisco Employment Law Attorney

At Minnis & Smallets LLP, our lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of all California workers, including employees who suffer discrimination on account of pregnancy. Individuals who have experienced adverse treatment at work should contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a San Francisco pregnancy discrimination lawyer who can provide more information about legal remedies.


If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

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