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Can i sue my employer for not giving me my job back after i return from maternity leave?

Fresno, CA |

i left for maternity leave on 03/13/2012 i was to return back to work 6/01/2012 due to a c-section. i notified him on 3 seperate occasions that i would be able to return back to work on 6/01/2012. the first time i notified him was through a doctors note i gave him, the 2nd time was in person and then the third time i left him a note reminding him once more that i would be able to work that following week. so the following saturday i called to see what days i was going to work and the manager said that he didnt put ne on the schedule to work, so she then called him and asked him if he had forgotten that i can go back to work and he said no, that thier wasnt any room for me anymore. so he just fired me.

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Attorney answers 3


Generally, employees returning from pregnancy leave are entitled to return to their same job. There are a few exceptions - for example, if the position was elimited by a reduction in force or another legitimate business reason that had nothing to do with the employee taking leave. Even if the employer says your old job is not available, your employer should bring you back in a comparable position (same type of duties, wages, etc.), again unless the employer demonstrates that there is no comparable position available.

You should consult with an employment attorney.

Information provided on this website is not legal advice, nor should you act on anything stated in this article without conferring with the Author or other legal counsel regarding your specific situation. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website.


You should consult with an attorney to discuss your rights and remedies.

In California, most pregnant employees can take up to 16 weeks of pregnancy disability leave from their employers for medical issues related to pregnancy and child birth. Additionally, some employees can take an additional 12 weeks of family and medical leave to bond with their new baby (based on the size of the employer and the employee's length of service and hours worked).

It sounds like you only took the former, pregnancy disability leave. It is unlawful to terminate an employee for taking pregnancy disability leave. It is also unlawful to fail to reinstate an employee at the conclusion of the leave in most instances.


Your employer may have violated California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and/or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), among other things. These statutes prohibit most employers with 15 or more employees from "refus[ing] to allow a female employee disabled
by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to take a leave for a reasonable period of time not to exceed four months and thereafter return to work" (Gov't Code 12945). Also, discrimination against someone based on pregnancy or childbirth is considered gender discrimination.

You would want to contact an attorney and/or file a claim with your local office of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (

Best of luck to you.

Disclaimer: This reply does not constitute legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, and constitutes only general guidance based on the limited information provided, and may not take into account additional relevant facts and circumstances pertaining to your specific situation.



there was 3 assistant managers me being one of them, and before i had left he had to give one of the other employees my keys and my postion when i left. I dont understand why he didnt hire a temp, until i returned back to work. i feel that if he knew thier wasnt going to be room for 4 assistant managers then why give someone my job? isnt that what temps are for? do i have a good strong case to take this to court and sue?

Benjamin Davidson

Benjamin Davidson


Thank you for your comment. Your employer was not required to hire a temp, but it should not have filled your position unless holding the position open until your return would have caused “substantial and grievous economic injury.” Your employer may also be protected if it would have eliminated the position regardless of your pregnancy. However, these are fact-specific questions that you should discuss confidentially with an employment attorney (you can contact me if you'd like). There are simply too many factors that could impact the relative strength of your case than can be dealt with in a public forum. Nevertheless, given the few facts presented, it would be advisable for you to contact a private attorney or a government agency like the DFEH or EEOC.

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