Pregnant employees are protected in California

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Posted by Legal Team On September 23, 2014

It may surprise you to learn about all the different forms of discrimination against which employees are protected in California. A few months ago, we mentioned that California law protects employees with diabetes from discrimination, and now we turn the discussion to another form of workplace discrimination that many women may face: pregnancy. It may surprise you to learn that the law legally requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions.

The keyword here is reasonable, as what exactly constitutes reasonable accommodation is affected by various factors for each unique case. Still, if your pregnancy is genuinely hindering your ability to perform the functions of your job, employees may be required to alter the functions of your job or modify certain tasks until you can perform them better. For more information on how employers are required to handle pregnancy, click here.

Thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers cannot refuse to hire pregnant employees simply because of their pregnancy. Employers must also treat pregnancy the same way as any other health concerns or medical conditions, meaning that they cannot deny pregnant women health insurance coverage. Additionally, if a pregnant employee is willing and able to perform the functions of her job, employers cannot legally forbid them to perform said functions.

If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, you don’t have to suffer discrimination. Pregnancy causes serious, life-altering changes to a woman’s body, and employers are required by law to take these changes into account and make reasonable accommodations for them. If your employer fails in this, you may be entitled to compensation. Discussing the matter with your doctor and a legal expert can help you decide how you want to proceed with the matter.