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Were you fired because you were pregnant?

After excitedly telling your family and friends that you were expecting a baby, you were looking forward to sharing your good news at work. You decided the first person you'd tell would be your boss; however, after doing so, you didn't quite get the reaction you'd expected. In fact, as you think back on it, instead of expressing joy or congratulations, he or she appeared somewhat irritated. You hoped it was just surprise because your news caught him or her off guard.

As the following days played out, however, you began to worry. It seemed your boss had grown very short-tempered and unsatisfied with your work, even though you were carrying out your duties to the best of your abilities, as always. Eventually, your boss called you into the office and told you that the company no longer needed your services. You stomach was in knots because you suspected the only reason for your firing was because you were pregnant. Others in California have experienced similar workplace discrimination.

Know your rights and how to seek justice

Your employer can not create a hostile work environment or terminate your position as retaliation against you for your pregnancy. This type of behavior is unlawful. The following list provides facts regarding workplace discrimination related to pregnancy or other medical conditions as well as where to turn for help if needed:

  • Your employer owes you fair treatment in the workplace. If he or she acts out against you because of any medical condition related to your pregnancy or child birth, you may have grounds to take legal action against him or her.
  • Whether the issue at hand has to do with hiring you, terminating your position, your wages or even job assignments, possible promotions or bonuses, if your employer or a prospective employer is denying your opportunity based solely on the fact that you are pregnant, it is against the law.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects you from harassment in the workplace that has to do with the fact that you're having a baby.
  • Even if your pregnancy limits your ability to perform a particular duty at work, your boss can not fire you because of it. An employer has an obligation to treat a pregnant employee who has pregnancy-induced limitations the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.
  • In addition to the PDA, the Americans with Disabilities Act obligates your employer to provide leave or workplace modifications to accommodate you if your pregnancy results in other adverse medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension.

The PDA also protects you from discriminating acts at work launched against you by co-workers, clients or customers. As for your employer, he or she may lawfully subject you to any typical protocol other employees requesting extended time off work must follow, such as submitting a signed letter from a licensed physician substantiating a medical reason for absence.

Who can help

Simply telling others at work what is happening is not always enough to rectify a problem situation related to pregnancy or other discrimination on the job. Many California workers reach out for support by asking experienced employment law attorneys to help them seek justice.

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