Fair Pregnancy Accommodations and Maternity Leave at Work | Mann & Elias

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in Los Angeles

Are you considering taking time off work to care for your newborn? If so, it is well within your right to have your pregnancy accommodated at work. Federal and state laws protect new mothers for tricky situations, when an employer makes it difficult for you to do your job. In this article we further explain how you are protected, and when it is best to get a Los Angeles employment attorney involved.

Maternity Leave in California

Maternity leave is an option that women have, which allows them to take needed time off to give birth, adopt, or heal from related medical conditions. The state of California added an extra protective layer to the law, making sure they can be absent without associated risks of losing their job or getting demoted. Depending on the company, employers may also provide pay. Maternity leave is normally unpaid unless there are legalities involved.

There are three types of maternity leave that can be requested.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL): If an expecting employee has a disability related to her pregnancy, she can take up to four months of maternity leave as the condition persists. There are specific qualifications that must be met.
  1.   Must be disabled because of the pregnancy, childbirth, or birth-specific medical condition.
  2.   The employer is covered through California’s disability leave law.

It is important to keep in mind that disability carries a vastly different meaning for pregnant women. If medical professionals declare she cannot perform her job (in any capacity), it is considered a disability. It is normally expected later in the pregnancy and after childbirth, but it can happen at any time.

What counts as a disability based on the American Disabilities Act (ADA)?

  • Morning sickness
  • Bed rest
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Postpartum depression
  •  Loss of pregnancy
  • More-than-needed recovery
  • Additional care for a prolonging condition

Employers may expect employees to request more time off after the birth. Recovery lasts between six to eight weeks between a normal birth and caesarean section. Doctors may continue to write a note indicating returning to work is too soon, and too dangerous. Under California’s law, new mothers are granted this right. If, as a worker, you feel that your needs aren’t being met, you should talk to a Los Angeles lawyer for maternity disputes. At Mann & Elias, our legal team is well-versed in handling employment violation cases. You have every right to file a complaint, testify or assist with any aspect of the legal process without fearing retaliation.

Family Leave: Employees working for mid to large sized companies have the option to take up to 12 weeks off. In this circumstance, it would be to spend time bonding and care for their newborn.

Men and women can request time off through the Paid Family Leave Act if they work for companies with 50 or more employees. So long as an employee is eligible, they can receive partial pay while spending time with their family within the first 12 months of the child’s arrival (newborn and adopted).

Reasonable Accommodation Leave: Any additional time off can be requested and negotiated with the employer whether time off was already taken through disability or family leave.

Over the course of a few months an employee builds up vacation time and sick days. During maternity leave an employee can request to take additional time off using them, with pay. This is completely up to you – not your employer.

Pregnancy Disability Act


On a federal and state level, women are protected from discriminatory treatment whether it is getting an accommodation at work to taking much needed time off to tend to their health during and post-pregnancy. Employers must provide soon-to-be mothers with the same rights, benefits and treatment other employees receive.

Employers are not required to accommodate pregnant employees through PDA (specifically). However, they do need to make sure pregnant employees are treated the same as those with disabilities. For example, if one worker was injured on the job and was able to spend the following three days working from home, so can a pregnant woman. Mental or physical impairments can impact one’s job performance.

Pregnant women without disabilities do not qualify for this type of maternity leave. Instead, regular family leave and accommodation leave are more suitable. Pregnancy alone is not considered as a disability. It can be requested depending on how you recover after giving birth.

If you were denied maternity leave and choose to pursue a case against the employer and company, you must be able to prove that you were not accommodated properly because of a legitimate, discriminatory reason.  If the prospective defendant doesn’t have a legitimate answer, or it isn’t sufficient enough in court, it is strong evidence of bias and ill-intended behavior.

About Mann & Elias


The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email info@mannelias.com

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