Pregnant workers in California are entitled to the same opportunities as any other employees. However, although pregnancy discrimination is illegal, it still occurs. It’s important to know how it can happen.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
Employment law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees for certain characteristics. This includes pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination against workers who are pregnant. This includes all aspects of a person’s job.
Sometimes, an employer might not even be aware that they are committing pregnancy discrimination. For example, if they change a pregnant employee’s job duties without that person requesting such changes, it can be considered unfair treatment and discrimination. This holds even if the employer believes they’re doing something to help the worker.
What are some facts about pregnancy discrimination?
There are many ways that pregnancy discrimination can occur. An employer cannot ask an applicant or employee if they’re pregnant and is prohibited from refusing to hire someone if they are pregnant. They also cannot legally terminate an employee based on pregnancy status.
Pregnant workers are entitled to maternity leave to prepare for the birth of their children. Employers are required to provide this leave, which is often treated as a disability. If an employee requests reasonable accommodations made while pregnant because they are unable to perform all their normal tasks, the employer must provide them. Once a pregnant worker takes maternity leave, their job must be held for them once they return, which is also legally required for situations like sick leave or disability.
Employers cannot deny their employee’s health insurance coverage because they’re pregnant. Fringe benefits cannot be withheld from pregnant workers based on their marital status. Pregnant employees who are single are entitled to the same benefits as those who are married.
Workers cannot be passed over for a raise or promotion they are due because they’re pregnant.
If a pregnant employee believes they have experienced pregnancy discrimination and files a complaint against their employer, it’s illegal for the employer to retaliate for it.