Discrimination during pregnancy can leave you feeling vulnerable and alone. Ensuring you receive any special accommodations you deserve is critical to your health. Concern over keeping your job and providing for your child presents very real concerns. Unfortunately, you are not alone.
Workers are Protected from Pregnancy-Related Discrimination
In California, employees are protected against harassment in ALL workplaces. However, different types of rights can apply depending on the size of your organization. For example, The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) commands employers with 50 or more employees to provide job-protected leave for the birth of a child, when a foster or adoptive child is placed in a home, or for the serious health condition of the employee’s child, parent, or spouse, and for the employee’s own serious health condition. Under the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) employers of 20 or more employees must provide eligible employees job-protected leave for the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care. A company of five or more employees must provide up to four months of disability leave for disabled employees due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. California even requires employers to provide sexual harassment training to protect women against discrimination due to pregnancy or childbirth.
What Laws Protect Women When Requesting Special Accommodations?
Both Federal and California State law protects you from workplace discrimination due to pregnancy or childbirth.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) under federal law forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment. Similarly, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was introduced to allow the parents of a new child, whether adopted or born into the family, to take unpaid leave, while protecting their job. Employees who qualify and take such leaves must be reinstated to their same or a comparable position.
California State law also provides protection. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)applies to public and private employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces state laws making it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of pregnancy or childbirth.
What Types of Special Accommodations are Available During Pregnancy or Childbirth
The Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers with five or more employees from discriminating based on childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions. Childbirth and pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats a woman unfavorably at work due to her pregnancy, plans to become pregnant, pregnancy-related medical issues, or childbirth. In California, if an employer refuses to hire, terminates, or harasses an employee because they require, or may require in the future, pregnancy-related leave that employer may be unlawfully discriminating against their pregnant employee.
Additionally, employers may be required to provide their employees with special accommodations during or after pregnancy. Employers must do the following during your employment while pregnant:
- Reasonably modify work duties while pregnant.
- Allow more breaks if medically needed.
- Transfer you to a less hazardous position if your position is too medically strenuous to perform while pregnant.
- Provide Pregnancy Disability Leave up to 4 months.
- Ensure you have the same job available when you are no longer disabled.
In certain situations, an employer may be required to provide Pregnancy Disability Leave. Pregnancy Disability Leave includes the following requirements:
- Your healthcare provider determines the length of time for Pregnancy Disability Leave.
- The employer must guarantee your return to the same or similar position after your leave.
- If you are still working at the employer’s place of business, you may be due to receive additional breaks and time off for medical appointments.
- Continue group health coverage at the same level as your normal employment.
The employer has certain responsibilities when you return to work after childbirth. This includes the following:
- Provide an area for postpartum employees to pump breast milk.
Employers may be required to provide these accommodations for a number of pregnancy-related issues including:
- Doctor required bed rest
- Severe morning sickness
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Postpartum Depression
If you think that any of your rights were violated, contact an Aiman-Smith & Marcy attorney to discuss your matter. We have vast experience with each of these issues.
Contact Our Team for Help
If you have had an issue with pregnancy discrimination in California, contact an Aiman-Smith & Marcy attorney. Our attorneys collaborate on every aspect of your case, providing a multi-dimensional perspective to each case that other law firms rarely provide. We look forward to ensuring you receive every special accommodation you deserve to provide a healthy pregnancy and secure employment future.