Legal advocacy with compassion and vigor

Pregnancy Discrimination

Federal and California state laws protect those who are pregnant and employed in California. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII to make clear that pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Despite these laws, employees continue to suffer from pregnancy discrimination.

Common acts of pregnancy discrimination include:

  • Firing an employee after learning that she is pregnant
  • Denying sick leave for pregnancy-related conditions when sick leave is available for other conditions
  • Denying maternity leave
  • Refusing to allow a return to work after maternity leave ends
  • Denying a FMLA leave after childbirth
  • Demotion or failure to promote because of pregnancy
  • Workplace harassment due to pregnancy

In addition, federal and California laws require employers to provide a private place (other than a bathroom) in which employees can express breast milk after giving birth.

California law offers protections beyond federal law by requiring employers to allow an employee to take a leave of absence when she is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and to maintain her health insurance during the leave. The law also requires an employer to provide other forms of reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy.


Federal and California laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who complain of pregnancy sex discrimination, or who file legal claims. Conduct that is defined as retaliatory is broader than the “adverse actions” discussed above. Our retaliation page explains retaliation and its remedies in more detail.

Helping Victims of Pregnancy Discrimination

An employment lawyer at KKG Law can help victims of pregnancy discrimination, sex discrimination, or retaliation. We represent current and former employees in Oakland, San Jose, Fairfield, and all other Bay Area communities. Contact us at .