What Protection Do Pregnant Employees Have at Work?

Pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant mothers, but it can also come with challenges, especially in the workplace.  Pregnancy discrimination is a form of workplace discrimination that specifically violates California law.  Unfortunately, this type of discrimination is more common than people are aware.  In this article, we will discuss the legal rights and protections that pregnant employees have in the workplace.

Accommodation and Protections Under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law.

California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) is part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code section 12845(a)).  PDLL requires employers to allow leaves of absence for pregnant employees of up to four (4) months due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (Government Code section 12945(a)2 Code of California Regulations section 11042(a)).  A pregnancy disability leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule basis depending on the pregnant employee’s medical needs. [2 Code of California Regulations sections 11042(a)(2)(B), (a)(3), (a)(4)].  California may also require employers to transfer a pregnant employee to a different position during the pregnancy (2 Code of California Regulations section 11041(a)).  Pregnant employees are also entitled to reasonable accommodation for conditions related to the pregnancy (Government Code sections § 12945(a) and (b)).  Under the PDLL, employers must treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees regarding accommodations, such as access to bathrooms and break time, and healthcare benefits.  The PDLL also protects pregnant employees from being fired or demoted due to their pregnancy.

Leave Options Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a Federal law that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for up to twelve (12) weeks in twelve (12) months for a serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth.  Eligible employees can take this leave to recover from a pregnancy-related medical condition or to care for their newborn child.  It is important to note that the PDLL and FMLA run at the same time.  So if a pregnant employee takes twelve (12) weeks on PDLL and FMLA, they are both exhausted.  On the other hand, after an employee takes a pregnancy disability leave, the employee will still have the right to take a leave of absence under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) of up to twelve (12) weeks “for reason of the birth of her child, if the child has been born by this date” (provided that the entire CFRA leave was not taken prior to the pregnancy disability leave). [2 Code of California Regulations section 11046(c)].  The pregnant employee is generally entitled to reinstatement to the same position she held before the leave. [2 California Code of Regulations section 11043(a)]

Eligibility of Leaves for Pregnant Employees.

Under both the FMLA and CFRA, an employee must have worked 1250 hours prior to taking the protected leave of absence.  In contrast, PDLL does not have a length of service requirement and does not require pregnant employees to work 1250 hours prior to taking the protected leave of absence.

Pregnancy discrimination (www.mclawapc.com/pregnancy-discrimination) in the workplace can have severe consequences for pregnant employees, including termination of their job, being denied opportunities for promotions and pay increases, and being subjected to unlawful workplace harassment.  Employers need to understand their legal obligations to avoid discrimination and failure to accommodate employees based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  Employers should ensure that their policies and practices comply with applicable California laws and regulations and that their employees are aware of their rights.

Are You Pregnant and Facing Discrimination From Your Employer?

Mark Charles Law, APC understands the legal rights of pregnant employees in California and can provide you with the representation if you feel that your rights are being violated.  Our firm prides itself on providing excellent representation to our clients as well as protecting employees who have been subjected to unlawful employment practices at their work.  We have extensive knowledge and experience of California employment laws such as the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) to ensure that all employees receive fair and just treatment.

You deserve to be treated fairly while pregnant, free of discrimination or burden at work.  It’s important to remember that your medical appointments must also be considered reasonable accommodations under the law – but don’t worry!  Our lawyer, Mark Charles, is happy to review details and guide you through the process every step of the way.  If you feel you are suffering from discrimination due to pregnancy at work, we can help explain your rights to you.  Contact us today for a free consultation! Find out here if you have a case for pregnancy discrimination.



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