Pregnant Employee Rights In California
We all want to do well at work. However, that doesn't mean you can't experience life's milestones. Having children, for example, shouldn't interfere with your employment security. Hence, why pregnant employees are protected under California Employment Law.
What Protects Pregnant Employer In California?
Employers and potential employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical problems under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law.
In California, this includes protection from job discrimination—which means employers can't make employment decisions based on an employee's pregnancy status. These pregnancy status indicators include breastfeeding, morning sickness, and the ability for pregnant women to take pregnancy leave if they are experiencing severe morning sickness.
In fact, if it is required, pregnant women can take leave in one-hour increments if they are suffering from severe morning sickness.
How Do You Know You're Being Discriminated Against?
Employment discrimination isn't immediately noticeable, so employees sometimes don't even know they're getting mistreated. Although, if you already have a suspicion, you have likely noticed warning signs that can be attributed to pregnancy discrimination.
Some examples of discrimination include the following:
Firing an employee because they're on a maternity leave
A job applicant isn't hired solely because they're pregnant
Denying an employee to work through their pregnancy
A pregnant employee is treated differently when it comes to health benefits, insurance
Refusing an employee a job-protected leave under FMLA
Wrongful termination of a pregnant employee
A pregnant employee is demoted, or their pay is reduced
Several laws protect pregnant employees from discrimination. If you've noticed some of these signs at work, consult with a California Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney to help you sort your employment case.
Pregnancy Is Considered A Temporary Disability
If a California employee cannot work temporarily due to pregnancy or childbirth-related medical issues, the employer must treat them as any other temporarily disabled employee.
That said, pregnant employees should be given reasonable accommodations, as you would disabled employees. For example, the employer could offer lighter workloads, different work tasks, an FMLA leave, or an unpaid leave.
Furthermore, impairments caused by pregnancy (such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia) may be deemed impairments under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Employers must offer reasonable accommodations for a temporary disability caused by pregnancy. However, the accommodation should not create an undue hardship on the employer (such as leave or adjustments that allow an employee to perform her job). Furthermore, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 shows that a medical condition is a protected impairment much easier.
This means that if your employer doesn't have the financial capacity to provide for your requested accommodations, it might not be considered grounds for a refusal to accommodate.
Regardless, pregnancy leaves are considered to not cause undue hardship to your employer. So you should be able to request it without fear of retaliation and wrongful termination.
Because an employer may give lengthy family leave, reasonable accommodations are required for female employees (beyond what is otherwise legally required). It may also be required to provide appropriate modifications to change the employee's working environment and allow them to work comfortably.
A woman's pregnancy is considered incapacitating if her doctor finds that she cannot perform one or more of her job's essential obligations as a result of her pregnancy. A woman's pregnancy can also leave her incapacitated if she has one or more of the following conditions:
Because you're sick, it's tough to get out of bed in the morning
Other medical issues experienced during the course of your pregnancy
Pregnancy loss and termination
A pregnancy-related impairment has hampered a major life operation in these cases. Find a California Employment Law Attorney to assist you in claiming your rights if your employer refuses to accommodate your temporary handicap status.