Pregnancy Leaves of Absence

Pregnancy Leaves of Absence

In California, pregnant women are protected from harassment and discrimination and they are entitled to accommodations for their pregnancy, reassignment to a less strenuous position and to take leave for the baby’s birth. Likewise, men are entitled to take up to 4 months (unpaid leave) for the birth of a child.

California laws are very protective of pregnant women and their rights, above and beyond federal laws. This means pregnant women who experience employment law violations are more likely to receive greater compensation and damages in a complaint litigated in California. Although these laws have been in place for many years, our attorneys still have to stand up for hundreds of women who were discriminated against either intentionally or unintentionally before, during, and often after their pregnancies.

Pregnancy discrimination can be based on actual pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to the pregnancy. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for any of these pregnancy-related reasons.

Examples of pregnancy discrimination include employers taking the following actions against a pregnant employee:
• Firing
• Refusing to hire
• Asking a female applicant whether she intends to become pregnant
• Demoting
• Changing job assignments without a valid reason
• Failing to return to work following a pregnancy leave.
• Forcing a mother to take pregnancy leave earlier than desired.

Pregnant employees may suffer from medical conditions during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against these employees. Examples of medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth include:
• Back pain
• Pre-eclampsia
• Gestational diabetes
• Conditions that require bed rest
• Lactation issues

Pregnant Employees are entitled to the same job upon return. Guarantee of Reinstatement. An employee who exercises her right to take pregnancy disability leave is guaranteed a right to return to the same position, or, to a comparable position, and the employer shall provide the guarantee in writing upon request of the employee. It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer, after granting a requested pregnancy disability leave or transfer, to refuse to honor its guarantee of reinstatement unless the refusal is justified by a valid defense.

Pregnant Employees can take up to four month leave of absence due to the pregnancy. Four-Month Leave Requirement for all Employers. All employers must provide a leave of up to four months, as needed, for the period(s) of time an employee is actually disabled because of pregnancy, even if an employer has a policy or practice that provides less than four months of leave for other similarly situated, temporarily disabled employees. Pregnancy disability leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time.

Denial of Leave is an Unlawful Employment Practice. It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant pregnancy disability leave to an employee disabled by pregnancy.


Under the FEHA, ‘reasonable accommodation’ means a modification or adjustment to the workplace that enables the employee to perform the essential functions of the job held or desired.  Reasonable accommodations can permit the employee to continue working and performing the Essential Functions, instead of requiring a medical leave of absence.  Reasonable Accommodations can also be temporary light duty assignments, or granting medical leave of absence, to allow the employee to recover sufficiently to return to work.


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If you have suffered from any type of misconduct or unlawful behavior you can take action. Seek assistance from a Sacramento Employment Attorney from Tower Legal Group and see how we may be to help you. We offer a Free Confidential No-Obligation Consultation so feel free to contact us via our secure online contact form. (See Below)