California women employed by employers with five or more employees California are eligible for maternity leave disability. In addition to taking four months off for maternity leave pregnant women may also take time off before their pregnancy due to pregnancy related disabilities. The total number of absences due to pregnancy cannot exceed four months unless the employee is also covered by the California Family Rights Leave Act (CFRA) which provides similar job rights as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Pregnant women who have worked 1,250 or more hours at their employer during the last calendar year, for one or more years of service, at an employer with 5 or more employees in a 75 mile radius might be able to take up to 7 months due to pregnancy related medical conditions.

Pregnancy Work Leave

Maternity leave can be taken in order give birth and then recover. Maternity leave also covers post-partum issues. It may also cover time spent giving special care to a new born baby. In order for employee maternity leave rights to be triggered the employee must actually request time off due to pregnancy related medical conditions. Employers cannot engage in discrimination if they are unaware that time off is due to pregnancy. The employee needs to indicate the desired leave is for pregnancy related medical conditions. Maternity leave does not have to be requested nor granted in writing. Oral requests and approvals of maternity leave do occur. Prudent practices dictate a written record of the request. Some cases involve questions whether an employer can require requests for maternity leave be verified by the doctor, or reduced to writing in a doctor’s note. This is a technical legal issue you need to speak to an experienced pregnancy lawyer about. When making arrangements for maternity leave it is also advisable to provide a beginning and end date, or to explain why those dates are not known. Lawsuits involving maternity leaves often involve employees losing their jobs due to maternity leaves, or being reinstated to an inferior position. If the employer has made it clear they will not allow the maternity leave, or a leave within the time provided under California law the employee should consult an experienced pregnancy law firm to determine whether they may have grounds for quitting and suing.

To determine if you were unlawfully denied
your Full Pregnancy or Maternity Leave Rights
CALL 1-661-412-9600 for Experienced
Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers


Pregnancy discrimination lawsuits sometimes involve situations in which pregnant women are not given the same job opportunities as non-pregnant women. Our pregnancy lawyers have seen cases in which for medical reasons pregnant women are prevented from travelling. If the employee or their doctor has requested such a limitation the employer is not responsible for the fact this might ultimately slow down the employee’s employment opportunities. However, if for illegitimate reasons the employer takes it upon themselves to impose a restriction on the type of work the employee can do while pregnant and that effects the employee’s advancement and earning potential pregnancy discrimination has occurred. A failure to allow a pregnant woman to do work she normally does is pregnancy discrimination if neither she nor her doctor has made such a request. Our law firm has handled many pregnancy lawsuits including through arbitration and trial. We know how to represent women in pregnancy related lawsuits against their employers. Given our experience, it is our intention to make the employee’s legal problem our problem opposed to their nightmare. It is true we only represent employees on a contingency and are only paid when and if we collect from the employer. The employee has little to lose if we are able to take their case. However, we cannot spend 100-400 hours of lawyer time fighting a case that will bring little or no economic benefit to the employee. For these reasons we believe pregnancy discrimination lawsuits should fall into the categories of a failure to accommodate a pregnancy related medical restriction (which is discrimination), a job termination (which is job discrimination), or active harassment due to pregnancy.

Includes a Failure to Acommodate and Pregnancy Harassment

Employers must accommodate conditions brought on by pregnancy.

Most important, Title 2 Section 11035(s) of the California Code of Regulations pertaining to pregnancy reads: (s) “Reasonable accommodation” of an employee affected by pregnancy is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is customarily done that is effective in enabling an employee to perform the essential functions of a job.
Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to an employer:

  • • modifying work practices or policies;
  • • modifying work duties;
  • • modifying work schedules to permit earlier or later hours, or to permit more frequent breaks
      (e.g., to use the restroom);
  • • providing furniture (e.g., stools or chairs) or acquiring or modifying equipment or devices.

It is illegal to discharge due to pregnancy or refuse to accommodate due to pregnancy, or force an employee to go on leave due to pregnancy, California Code of Regulations Title 2 Section 11039. Under Title 2 Section 11040 of the California Code of Regulations an employer cannot assert an inability to accommodate an employee if they fail to engage in an interactive process as required by Title 2 Section 11050. Defining the difference between pregnancy harassment versus pregnancy discrimination versus a failure to accommodate is often difficult and not subject to precise variation. Examples of pregnancy harassment involve situations in which the employee is made fun of due to pregnancy. This might include taunting the employee, or making unkind remarks about their presence and physical abilities due to pregnancy. In a jury trial our firm won the supervisor did not believe the employee should go through labor because she was an unmarried woman. This involved both religious discrimination and harassment. If an employer makes the employee perform tasks that violate her pregnancy related restrictions that conduct might be both a failure to accommodate pregnancy related medical conditions and pregnancy harassment especially if the supervisor delights in trying to make the employee miserable and further physically debilitated due to pregnancy. We cannot overemphasize the need to consult with an experienced pregnancy discrimination law firm. Many situations seem wrong, but whether they violate the law, and what the employee should do about the situation are issues only a qualified employee attorney can provide meaningful guidance on.


The term Pregnancy disability leave (PDL) can refer to time off both before and after childbirth. A PDL leave is leave needed due to pregnancy related medical conditions. The applicable California Code of Regulations suggests 30 day notice be given of an intent or request for a pregnancy disability leave. There are many pregnancy related medical conditions that are sudden, and for which 30 day notice cannot be given. Particular attention should be paid to the 30 day rule when requesting far in advance time off for childbirth and recovery. If an employee must miss work due to pregnancy related medical tests they have little notice of, their doctor immediately puts them out of work due to a pregnancy related medical condition, or morning sickness makes coming to work unbearable the 30 day rule would be against the intent of the broad legislative protection California pregnancy disability laws are intended to have. Situations in which the employee has sudden and unpredictable medical problems requiring her to miss work due to pregnancy are situations the pregnant employee must consult an experienced pregnancy lawyer on. This situations get very delicate. It is paramount the right decision be made. Employees who go on pregnancy disability leave are supposed to be reinstated to their jobs, or a comparable job after their pregnancy leave is over. If the employee so desires, time spent on a pregnancy disability leave can be paid through available sick time, PTO days, or vacation days. The existence of PTO, sick, or vacation days most likely does not extend the legally allowable leave of absence due to pregnancy. Employees can also opt to go on short term disability through the EDD if their doctor provides sufficient documentation. Obviously, in the event of extremely short term pregnancy disability leaves the employee should not go on EDD short term disability. The existence of short term disability pay through the government or a private insurance policy does not extend the legally available time a pregnant employee may be out for pregnancy related conditions. If an employee is fired for asserting their right to, or actually taking a pregnancy disability leave they should bring a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Employers who deny an employee’s pregnancy disability leave may be liable for lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, and potential California Labor Code Section 1102.5 penalties of $10,000.00. Employers who lose lawsuits involving pregnancy rights must pay the reasonable attorney fees and costs of the employee who brings the lawsuit. Our firm has achieved meaningful case results for pregnant women who were fired, or mistreated due to their pregnancies.

These results included:

  • • $365,000 following a won jury trial for a $9.00 an hour employee when a sanitarium refused to accommodate pregnancy related lifting restrictions for a CNA
  • • $342,500 in 2018 dollars for a minimum wage warehouse worker forced to violate her pregnancy related lifting restrictions
  • • A won binding arbitration for $168,000 in 2018 dollars for a $9.00 an hour employee fired due to a pregnancy related medical appointment
  • • A jury verdict with punitive damages for a minimum wage warehouse worker forced to violate her pregnancy related restrictions and otherwise mistreated due to pregnancy
  • • Multiple $125,000-$150,000 settlements for pregnant women mistreated or fired from their jobs

• The above case results are neither a guarantee nor prediction of future success

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We handle employee lawsuits all over California from our offices in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Oxnard, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Riverside, Tustin, Torrance, and Ontario.