Stopping-Pregnancy-and-Maternity-Leave-Discrimination.jpg (2149×1159)At a time when most parents’ are dutifully investing into their baby’s future, whether it be with painstakingly prepping new rooms for painting or eagerly awaiting prenatal appointment sonograms, no employee should face discrimination due to pregnancy. In order to develop a healthy pregnancy, the last thing a new mother needs is an employer that refuses to accommodate their needs, or implicitly or explicitly fires them.

Discrimination is a subtle force in society and, here at Aiman-Smith & Marcy; we are only to ready to shine the light on employers not compliant with California laws. It is illegal to fire or discriminate against a California employee due to pregnancy. 

Why Pregnancy and Maternity Leave Laws Exist 

In California, we refuse to ignore the rights of women and their burgeoning families. Unfortunately, unscrupulous employers try to take advantage of a pregnant woman by suddenly shuttering doors for further promotion, or any other nasty tricks to force her to quit. Since women have joined the workplace, activists have worked tirelessly ensure women do not experience this type of gender discrimination on the job. In effect, treating a pregnant employee or someone asking for maternity leave, makes the workplace particularly unfair to women in competitive markets. Luckily, many companies are even offering males paid leave to assist their partner with a new baby and witness the milestone of a child’s birth. 

While California has progressive legislation to protect pregnant women, if you find yourself here, you’ve likely experienced discrimination in the workplace. Other employers will act like making prenatal appointments is a hassle and suggest that the time off is a threat to their job security. It’s best to keep a log of these types of emails or comments. The goal of them to discredit the expecting mother’s job performance. Sadly, the bottom-line is often the only element of concern to them. Rather than investing in employees, many profit-hungry companies are more concerned with temporarily losing an employee. 

Rights to Accommodation

Pregnant women are allowed rights to accommodation, which means that employers can relegate one to less physically demanding positions, or an employee can request a transfer. Basically, the accommodations are common sense and designed to protect the mother and make for a safe pregnancy. A pregnant employee can also request stools or chairs to feel more comfortable while working. Additionally, pregnant women are supposed to be granted more frequent breaks.  There are some stipulations to getting extra accommodations, such as giving your employer 30 days notice and medical documentation of the pregnancy.

It is also considered required for employees to be provided a nursing room per breastfeeding. This allows a woman who is breastfeeding to privately fill bottles of milk, since milk is produced for a nursing infant whether or not they are with their child. To disallow room or accommodation for this, would mean interfering and interrupting with the natural, biological process of breastfeeding. 

Rights to Maternity Leave  

Clearly, giving birth to another human is a delicate process and requires extra care not often found in the cold, corporate world. Nonetheless, lawyers with human interests in mind hand long advocated for these types of legal protections. According to California’s legal system, pregnant women are entitled to many benefits and protections during their period of employment. According to DFEH, the government itself must comply with its practices, employers must provide “17 1/3 weeks” of paid leave compensation. It is called Paid Disability Leave, or PDL, in the state. If you have worked for a specific employer for more than one year, one might be eligible for federal and state relief. The federal program, FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) combined with The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), provides unpaid yet job-protected leave. 

If your rights have been violated or you have experienced this discrimination, please contact us immediately for assistance.

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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