Can You Fire Someone Just Because They Are Pregnant?

Many women wonder if it is legal to be demoted, laid off or "let go" after they are visibly pregnant. They ask, can you fire someone if they are pregnant? While it is illegal to fire someone just because they are pregnant the truth is it happens frequently.

Not Really The Employers "Good Intentions"

Many employers will not outright say that the reason they are firing, "letting go" or changing a status or duties is because a woman is pregnant. This is illegal.

  • The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace.
  • However, it is not uncommon for an employer to discriminate against pregnant employees. The employer will often disguise their actions so as to avoid getting into legal trouble.
  • Many times when an employer lays off a pregnant woman the employer will allege that this was because they were worried about the safety of the woman and unborn child. With very few exceptions a change in job responsibility, title or pay due to pregnancy is illegal.

Exceptions To The Rule

While it is patently illegal to force a pregnant woman to take a different job while she is pregnant, there are exceptions. If you work with toxic chemicals, on a hazardous work site or where heavy lifting is expected these might be exceptions. It may be in your best interest to work in a different area in these cases.

Pregnancy Modifications

There are jobs which may be more difficult to do when you are late in your pregnancy. In this instance, you may be eligible for a temporary transfer or modification to your duties. For example, if your employer offers modifications for employees with injuries or limitations then these should also be available to you.

However, if you were fired, laid off, demoted or your job changed against your wishes due to your pregnancy, speak with an attorney who works in discrimination as soon as possible.

Four Steps To Take Against Discrimination

While it is not always possible to prove an employer did or said discriminatory things, there are ways to protect yourself.

  1. Keep records of any discussions with your employer.
  2. Keep a list of the dates and actions that were taken against you.
  3. Maintain a copy of your qualifications and performance record.
  4. Be able to show how you were treated differently than other workers due to your pregnancy.

We Will Fight For You To Win

We all need to be able to make a living and provide for ourselves and our families. Discrimination not only violates ethical and moral codes it is also illegal. We will fight for justice, for your right to work while pregnant or nursing and for just compensation from violators of the law.

The Armstrong Law Firm is one of the most knowledgeable and established employee-only law firms in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. Our years of experience in Bay Area pregnancy rights in the workplace set us apart from other employment law firms.

Questions? Call us now at 415-692-0462 and speak with an employment lawyer about what has happened to you and how we can help. Or email us your question or concern and we will reach out to you. We offer a free initial consultation so we can learn about your case.