top of page

Pregnancy and Family Responsibility Discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against pregnant employees, those recovering from pregnancy, or employees that need to take lactation breaks at work.  Unfortunately, some employers will not provide the required pregnancy disability leave or work accommodations that they need to protect their health and the health of their employees or their children. Some employees are denied job placement because of their pregnancy or are unable to return to their previous position when they return from leave. It is also illegal to discriminate against employees that have assumed Family Responsibilities such as caring for a disabled or sick family member.  Employees may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the FEHA and/or leave under the FMLA, the CFRA, the CARES Act.


The following actions may indicate discrimination:


  • Refusing to hire or promote an applicant based on their pregnancy

  • Firing or demoting an employee because of their pregnancy

  • Treating an employee differently or denying them a job after they return from a leave of absence related to pregnancy

  • Refusing to grant pregnancy-related leave or insurance benefits to employees or to those covered by their employer-provided health insurance

  • Failure to give an employee leave or retaliating against an employee for taking leave

  • Failing to accommodate a pregnant employee’s need for reasonable modification of tasks in their job; for example, the need to stop lifting heavy boxes during their pregnancy or time off as needed for a pregnancy related issue such as pregnancy complications, high risk pregnancy, etc.

  • Harassment based on being pregnant or requesting accommodations or seeking leave time or personal time off


Employees may be entitled to back wages and compensation, attorney’s fees, punitive damages and reinstatement.  However, employees must act act before the statute of limitations precludes their claims.


If you believe this has happened to you, or are a business facing such claims, contact Shalchi Burch LLP now. 

bottom of page