For a lot of people, bringing a child into the world is considered a joyous event, even among working women who know that in today's society, it's possible to maintain their career while also growing their family. But in some workplaces, this joy has given way to fear.
In some instances, expecting mothers are afraid to tell their employers about their pregnancies for fear of losing their job. These fears are oftentimes fueled by stories from across the country, including here in California, of cases where women were fired simply because they were pregnant. We'd like to emphasize that such action is prohibited by law and can lead to a claim for wrongful termination.
Protection for pregnant employees
Most people are aware of the fact that employees and employers are prohibited by California labor law and federal law from discriminating against someone because of their age, sex, race, religion, physical disability or national origin. But despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, some people still don't know that discriminating on the basis of pregnancy is also prohibited.
Employers who are unaware of the law may actively deny a pregnant employee a promotion or even terminate her employment without realizing that this is a violation of labor laws. But ignorance of the law is no excuse for wrongfully terminating a pregnant employee and employers should know that an employee has the right to seek legal action if this happens.
Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit
Workers who believe they were fired because of their pregnancy do have the right to file a lawsuit against their employer for wrongful termination. If a judge agrees with the worker's claim, she may be awarded compensation for lost wages, court and attorney's fees as well as other damages, such as pain and suffering in some cases.
You should know that wrongful termination cases may not be easy to tackle on your own. Employers will typically have an attorney represent them in these types of cases - an attorney who typically has more knowledge of the law than the average person. Workers who wish to seek compensation for wrongful termination are encouraged to seek legal representation of their own to advocate on their behalf.