If you have concerns about working while pregnant, take heart. You have strong rights under state and federal laws, including California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), and the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The more you know about your rights, the better equipped you will be to address these issues with your employer. Here are three important things to remember about working while pregnant in California:
1. You are entitled to special accommodations
Pregnancy and work can more easily go hand in hand if your employer provides special accommodations, which they are legally obligated to do. Accommodations come in many forms, and the needs of one employee may be different from those of another.
Some common pregnancy accommodations include:
- Longer breaks for extended bathroom visits and medical needs such as checking blood pressure
- Time off for visits to your OBGYN and other medical providers
- Help with strenuous tasks that your pregnancy makes difficult or impossible
- Modified working areas
- A modified schedule
- Change in work assignments
It may not be possible for your employer to provide every accommodation you need, but they must engage in a good faith effort to make these accommodations available to you. If they refuse to do so, they have broken the law and you may be able to pursue a pregnancy discrimination claim.
2. If you can’t work, you are entitled to disability leave
Pregnancy complications or restrictions is considered a disability under California law. If you cannot work despite the special pregnancy accommodations your employer has provided, you deserve disability leave without the threat of losing your job.
3. Your employer must notify you of your rights
Employers who do not want to grant special accommodations or disability leave may try to leave you in the dark, hoping you will not take advantage of the laws that exist to protect you. If your employer denies you have rights or puts up barriers to you learning about them, they have violated the law.
A legal ally can make all the difference
While navigating these legal issues while pregnant may seem like a daunting task, you don’t have to face them alone. A skilled employment law attorney can help you understand the law and how it applies in your situation. Your lawyer can also address any barriers your employer places between you and your employment rights.