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The birth of a child is a joyous and blessed occasion for all mothers. Being pregnant or a new mother, however, is a 24-hour job with round-the-clock tasks—all of which are necessary to give the best medical care to mothers and their new child. The last thing any expectant mother wants to have on her mind is whether she will keep her job for tending to herself or her newborn. The law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and employers must treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees.

Key protections for pregnant mothers in California.

A qualifying pregnant mother may receive up to 4 months of unpaid pregnancy leaves if she requires it. The leave does not have be taken all at once and can be used whenever necessary. A pregnant employee is eligible if she is suffering from severe morning sickness or if she is unable to perform an essential job function or is unable to perform job functions without undue risk to herself.

If an employer pays for part or all of an employee’s medical benefit, the employer must continue to make medical plan payments for up to four months.

Reasonable transfers to less dangerous or strenuous positions are available for eligible pregnant workers upon the advice of a medical doctor.

Pregnant California workers who take pregnancy disability leave and return to work must be reinstated in the same or comparable job position.

Examples of pregnancy disability discrimination.

If you are pregnant or recently had a child, you may be entitled to compensation if:

  • Your supervisor or employer tries to persuade you against taking time off by suggesting negative consequences could occur to your career.
  • You are fired or terminated from your job after your supervisor learns you are pregnant.
  • You return to work after your pregnancy leave and your job duties, salary or consideration for promotions is negatively affected because of your pregnancy.

Maternity leave for new mothers.

Spending time and bonding with an infant child is an important step in developing a strong relationship between the parent and child. Bonding is a lengthy process that helps newborn babies develop a strong emotional tie with their parents. It can also have significant health benefits, provide the child with a strong sense of security, and ensure a social connection with their parents.

Workers in California are eligible for maternity leave protection if they have worked for an employer who has 50 or more employees working within 75 miles and those employees have worked for the employer at least 1250 hours in the last year.

Eligible workers can receive:

  • 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the purpose of bonding with their new child.
  • And continued health coverage if the employee had that coverage before the pregnancy.
  • For more information about pregnancy-related rights, see the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing's frequently asked questions page by clicking here.
  • Employers who violate a pregnant employee’s rights may be liable for unpaid wages, lost benefits, reinstatement of employment, or other financial damages.

If you believe you have been harassed or discriminated against because of your pregnancy or new born child, call Optimum Employment Lawyers at (949) 954-8181 to find out your legal options and solutions.