Employers-Cannot-Discriminate-Against-Pregnant-Employees.jpg (4297×2317)Congratulations on your pregnancy. Your employer cannot fire you if you are pregnant under the California Family Rights Act and federal laws. This is very important if you are planning to return to work after you have your baby. A business in California must give a new mother up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave and she cannot be replaced permanently.

Some companies give the expectant mother accrued sick pay, personal leave, and vacation pay during this time. She may also qualify for disability or other payments under some supplemental insurance plans. Her insurance continues while she is on leave and the new baby may be added to the policy that includes dependent coverage.

Federal Law plus California Law

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was amended to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect expectant mothers in the workplace if they have been employed for 12 months. Terminating or refusing to hire a pregnant woman is sex discrimination. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

If a woman is unable to perform her job as the result of her pregnancy, she is to be treated in the same way as a person who is temporarily disabled under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave law and federal rules. A pregnant woman must be allowed to modify her tasks or be transferred to another job at the same pay rate if her health and her condition are in danger from her work.

Under California law, the woman does not have to work for 12 months to qualify for the CFRA and the company only needs five employees. Her first 12 weeks of leave are concurrent with the federal law and the last four weeks are covered by the California law.

A parent may take time off to care for a sick child or another immediate family member under California’s laws. This applies to registered domestic partners and spouses who may be needed to care for a newborn baby or another immediate family member. This law protects the new father or domestic partner who may take time off from work. The law does not discriminate against the gender of the domestic partner.

Paid Family Leave

California offers temporary disability insurance under the Paid Family Leave act to parents who must take time off for a new baby, including an adopted child. Men adopt children and they are entitled to the same considerations for bonding with the new child. This partial payment also applies to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent.

State Disability Insurance pays for up to six weeks of leave time. Certain requirements and medical authorizations apply.

Health Insurance

Companies that supply health insurance or participation in shared insurance costs must cover pregnancy and childbirth in the same way as other medical conditions. This includes spouses covered by an employee’s insurance plan. This is required by federal and California laws.

Medical benefits for pregnant women must cover expectant mothers who are not married. An employer and the insurance companies cannot discriminate against unmarried pregnant women and those who adopt a child.

Telling Your Employer

It is the decision of the expectant mother to tell her employer about her condition. She can do so at any time. Many women wait until their second trimester to explain their pregnancy, especially if they have had previous complications.

A woman may need a temporary sick leave during her pregnancy and return to work while she awaits her due date. She may decide to start her leave the last month of her pregnancy.

A woman who experiences morning sickness may tell her employer why she is late for work. This is often a temporary condition in the early stages of pregnancy and it should be treated like any other medical condition.

Contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy if you feel your employer has discriminated against you during your pregnancy or your allowed leave. Many employers do not understand the state and federal laws regarding pregnancy and family leave. Let us know if your manager or employer tries to intimidate you into quitting your job while you are pregnant. We are here to help you protect your benefits.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986