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Can I sue for discrimination; my boss started cutting my hours and giving me work that pays less once he found out I'm pregnant.

Monterey, CA |

I work at a restaurant part-time (half of the waiters do). We recently got a new manager who has cut my hours to 30% of what I was working before, and he's started giving me customers who he knows will spend less money therefore I make less money in tips which is my primary wage. Each time I ask for more work I get a different excuse. Once it was that they needed me to arrive at a time I was unavailable, another time he said it was because I am only part time, and I've even had co-workers tell me that he wants me fired. He is trying to give me such bad conditions that I quit. He says shifts, money etc based on numbers, but I perform the same as everyone else when he assigns work evenly. Can I sue him? Is it discrimination, or what would this fall under?

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Attorney answers 6


You have a potential claim under Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act if he is treating you differently than non-pregnant employees. You should discuss the facts of your case with a local employment lawyer, who can also advise you concerning claims that you may have under state and local law.


My colleague is correct. Find a local employment lawyer.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.


California also has its own pregnancy discrimination laws, which are somewhat more favorable to plaintiffs than the federal counterpart. You will need to file a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH").

The DFEH has information on pregnancy discrimination claims that you can find here: You may also want to contact an employee-side labor lawyer for assistance.

You should NOT hesitate to take action here. Your statute of limitations may be running.


This very well could be a sex/pregnancy discrimination case, among other potential claims. But like most cases, a formal interview with an attorney will be required.

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It definitely seems like his conduct is questionable and might be discriminatory on the basis of your pregnancy. More facts would be necessary to completely evaluate your potential claim. You should speak to an attorney who practices employment law in your area. You can also check with the California Employment Lawyers Association to see who is in your area.

Christine M. Adams, Esquire
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FAX: (805) 845-9634

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Proving pregnancy as his motive in cutting your hours may be difficult. But, if it can be proven your hours were cut because you are pregnant then you have protection under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. You should consider consult with a knowledgeable employment attorney in Monterey who represents employees to fully understand your rights.

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