Pregnant and Being Laid Off - Do I Have Any Rights?
offs during pregnancy are often devastating—both financially and
emotionally. One question many women have is whether being laid off
during pregnancy is legal. The answer—it depends.
Take a moment to envision the following not so hypothetical
situation: Big Boss and Little Boss are having a year end meeting
to discuss the financial state of their company. Big Boss and
Little Boss are shocked to discover that the past year’s profit
margins are the worst in the last ten years. Big Boss decides that
cut backs must be made by laying off several employees. Big Boss
raises his eyebrow and says to Little Boss, “We’ve got that customer
service rep who is pregnant; she’ll be the first to go.”
laying off the pregnant employee legal? If Big Boss has chosen to
layoff the customer service representative for a legitimate business
reason (such as seniority), no law has been violated. However, if
Big Boss chose to include the customer service representative in the
lay off because of her pregnancy, he has violated California law.
scenario may unfold as follows: Big Boss will have a meeting with
the customer service representative and state that due to an
unexpected “slow down in business,” he is forced to eliminate her
position. While this may cause the employee to feel that the
termination was legitimate, you should be aware choosing an employee
for lay off because of pregnancy is no different from terminating a
pregnant woman on the basis of trumped up performance
For more information about pregnancy related
issues, contact Sarah Schler at
or (310) 492-5757.