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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33878
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I just asked a question about a pregnancy related termination,

Customer Question

I just asked a question about a pregnancy related termination, but the question has disappeared.

My last pregnancy left me out of the office on extended disability. I am pregnant again and was laid off in favor of "more qualified" employees (including a new hire). Other than my supervisor, no one else has more experience than me. I asked why, but I really think it's because I'm pregnant again and they don't want to deal with it.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  FLAandNYLawyer replied 2 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer,

So sorry to hear of this dilemma. If my answer is not clear to you, please ask me for clarification by using the reply button.

Under the pregnancy discrimination law, the employer must treat an employee the same as any other worker who has an injury or an illness.

The law requires that an employer give a disabled person a reasonable accommodation that will allow him to perform all of the duties for his job. Accommodate means making some reasonable accommodation so that the employee can perform all the tasks of their regular job.

To make a claim against your employer, you must file a "charge of discrimination" with the EEOC. The charge must be filed by mail or in person with a local EEOC office within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation.

For detailed instructions, see this link:

http://www.eeoc.gov
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This answer did not provide any information that I did not already know; it's readily available on the internet.

How do I substantiate my claim that I was singled out because of my current pregnancy? All of the other women were allowed to remain; I was told that I was being laid off in favor of them because they had more experience. Aside from our Vice President, I have the most departmental experience in our office (9 years). They even kept a new hire who was still in training (6 mos experience). All of the remaining women are sterile (clinically or surgically).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I need an answer that I cannot generate by myself with a simple Google search. I am seeking insight/advice that only a lawyer can provide, not something available to any layman online.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I need an answer that I cannot generate by myself with a simple Google search. I am seeking insight/advice that only a lawyer can provide, not something available to any layman online.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

Different expert here. Please permit me to assist.

First, I need to correct something that the other expert stated, which is incorrect as a matter of law, not just in California, but everywhere in the USA.

Pregnancy discrimination is considered "sex" and not disability discrimination, under federal law. Disability discrimination only comes into issue where the employee is actually disabled by her pregnancy. The difference is not just a formality -- it can have a dramatic effect on a legal outcome, and a lawyer who pleads disability discrimination where sex discrimination should have been pleaded, could have his/her client's case dismissed, or lost on summary judgment.

That said, what you are describing is classic pregnancy discrimination. A "prima facie" pregnancy discrimination action requires that: (1) the plaintiff is a member of the protected class of persons who are pregnant; (2) the employer took an adverse action against the employee; (3) the employer's action was based upon the plaintiffs membership in the protected class; (4) the employee suffered damages caused by the employer's action.

Your facts fall neatly into the necessary elements, therefore your employer has committed pregnancy discrimination, unless it can prove that your termination was not based upon your being pregnancy, then you win, and that's really all there is to it -- except for the actual litigation, of course.

If I weren't retired, I would probably take your case. Since you are in California, you have a choice of complaining to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (see link), or hiring an employment rights attorney (see link).

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 33878
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'd like to thank you again. I have an additional dilemma in that, even if I were to win my job back, they would probably treat me badly; I just feel so helpless. Will complaining to EEOC about pregnancy discrimination allow my former employee to say negative things about me to potential new employers?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Just to be clear if you complain to the EEOC, they will just send the complaint to the California DFEH -- which is why I gave you the DFEH link to file a complaint.

Also, an EEOC complaint has an upward limit on damages, whereas a DFEH complaint does not.

That said, retaliation by an employer creates a secondary and separate lawsuit. So, only a former employer seeking to commit financial suicide would be likely to disparage you to a potential new employer -- in my opinion.

Most employees who suffer discrimination don't return to work, for the very reasons you describe. Usually the employer settles for paying the employee's lost wages until she finds new employment.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

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