Pregnancy is a significant life event, and the well-being of both mother and child should be a top priority. In California, robust laws exist to protect pregnant employees from discrimination in the workplace. This blog post aims to shed light on some of these laws, with the hope of helping people better understand their rights and companies better understand their responsibilities.

Pregnancy Discrimination

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination against employees based on various protected characteristics, including pregnancy. Pregnancy discrimination can take various forms, including refusal to hire, demotion, unfair treatment, or termination based on an employee’s pregnancy or related medical conditions. It is crucial for both employers and employees to recognize and address such discriminatory practices promptly.

Reasonable Accommodations

California law mandates that employers make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees to ensure they can perform their job duties effectively. Reasonable accommodations may include adjustments to work schedules, job duties, or providing necessary equipment to support the employee’s health during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

California law provides eligible employees with Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), allowing for up to four months of unpaid leave due to pregnancy-related disabilities. Employers are obligated to maintain health insurance coverage during this period, ensuring that pregnant employees can prioritize their health without sacrificing crucial benefits.

Communication is Key

Open communication between employers and pregnant employees is essential. Employers should engage in a cooperative dialogue to discuss potential accommodations and address any concerns or challenges related to pregnancy in the workplace. Maintaining a transparent and supportive environment benefits both the company and the employee.

“Both the state and federal statutes are designed to foster open communication between an employer and its employees regarding perceived misconduct, encouraging employees to call their employers’ attention to unlawful practices of which the employer might be unaware and which might result in litigation if not voluntarily changed.” Flait v. N. Am. Watch Corp., (1992) 3 Cal. App. 4th 467, 476

Retaliation Protections

California law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who assert their rights under pregnancy discrimination laws. To establish a prima facie case, the plaintiff must show that they engaged in a protected activity, the employer subjected them to adverse employment action, and there is a causal link between the protected activity and the employer’s action. The adverse employment action can for example be a demotion or termination.

Seeking Legal Recourse

If an employee believes they have experienced pregnancy discrimination, they should seek legal advice and representation. Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. provides skilled, experienced representation. We are employment lawyers in Southern California who have helped hundreds of clients achieve great results. If you are involved in a dispute involving this area of employment law, our experienced employment lawyers stand ready to help. We help employers understand their obligations, and employees understand their rights. Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. provides a complimentary consultation and is proud of our many positive testimonials. Ready to safeguard your rights against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace?