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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12946
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work in HR and I am about six months pregnant. In a meeting

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I work in HR and I am about six months pregnant. In a meeting with the Director of Human Resources, he asked me if I was planning in returning to work after my maternity leave. I found this questions uncomfortable. I responded that I had not thought about that. Later in a conversation he shared with me that the owner of the company had asked him who was his solid employee, and he said that he had told him that I was but now I am pregnant. Two meeting ago he told that I was showing now, and I responded no I am just fat. His response was "I prefer fat over pregnant". I consider myself to be a good worker, I have worked there for about 7 years but I am starting to feel left out because I am pregnant. This was the same feeling with my fist pregnancy which was in 2008. My boss, who is the Director of HR, is a bully and many times I felt like quitting, but I haven't because of the pay. Now, I am not too sure if it's worth staying and dealing with him. There's no one else to turn to, as I mentioned he is HR. Last meeting with him on august 30th, we meet to talk about my projects and as usual he starting to put me down but this time I defended myself. It was a hostile meeting that left me with anger and desperation. My hole weekend was ruined. I just had enough. I do not know what to do.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am extremely sorry to hear about this pregnancy-related harassment.

In order to best assist you, would you be so kind as to clarify your specific question or questions? What exactly would you like to know?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can I get fired? My boss and I haven't talked since August 30th. I sent him an email because I wanted to start documenting my projects and accomplishment. I sent him the email on Wednesday to review my ongoing projects and he did not meet with me, he ignored me. I think he either trying to fire me or make me quit. What are rights? and if I do get fire, how to I proceed?


Thank you so much for clarifying your question.

Fortunately, pregnant employees in the state of California have substantial rights.

Foremost, the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), which applies to employers who employ five or more employees and applies to all employees, requires employers to provide for up to four-months of protected leave per pregnancy that can be taken on a continual basis or in smaller increments, as needed.

Specifically, Government Code 12945 states as follows:

(a) In addition to the provisions that govern pregnancy,
childbirth, or a related medical condition in Sections 12926 and
12940, each of the following shall be an unlawful employment
practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification:

(1) For an employer to refuse to allow a female employee disabled
by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to take a
leave for a reasonable period of time not to exceed four months and
thereafter return to work, as set forth in the commission's
The employee shall be entitled to utilize any accrued
vacation leave during this period of time. Reasonable period of time
means that period during which the female employee is disabled on
account of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition."

An employee who invokes their right to take leave under the PDLL cannot be terminated in retaliation for taking such leave.

Furthermore, an individual in your circumstance is typically entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave to bond with your babies pursuant to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

In order to be eligible for CFRA baby bonding leave, the employee must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

Assuming the application of both of these laws, an employee in your circumstance would be entitled to a maximum of 4 months of protected leave to the extent you have a pregnancy-related disability, and an additional 12 weeks of protected leave once you have your child for baby bonding.

Although an employer technically remains free to eliminate positions for budgetary reasons while a pregnant or recently pregnant employee is out on leave pursuant to the above laws, termination under such circumstances will face extremely heavy scrutiny.

Assuming any sort of adverse employment action is taken against you while you are on leave (i.e., you are fired or demoted), an employee in your circumstance would be extremely well served to retain a local employment law attorney and file suit for damages.

To locate an attorney who can assist you in bringing a claim if necessary, see here:

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

But I am not on leave yet. My due date is Jan 3rd. I am still working. What about if I get terminated now not during my leave.

Thank you very much for your reply.

It is illegal to discriminate against any employee on the basis of gender, which includes pregnancy, and so adverse employment action taken against you due to your expected pregnancy leave would be equally illegal.

If you were terminated under these circumstances and your employer did not have a strong justification unrelated to your pregnancy for that decision, you would have a very strong case for wrongful termination. Such case could be pursued through the assistance of a local employment law attorney on a contingency fee basis.

If you don't know, a contingency fee arrangement is one in which the attorney receives a portion of the client's settlement or award as his payment, typically 1/3 of the total amount. If there is no recovery, the attorney does not get paid. The client never pays until the settlement or award is obtained (except perhaps to cover the filing costs for his claim).

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. Best wishes to you and your growing family moving forward.
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