Employment law protects pregnant and nursing mothers in the workplace in California. Additionally, some of these laws have been amended to add new protections. The following looks at the laws that protect this class of workers.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
This is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions that are related. The PDA prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, and pay.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
This is another federal employment law that provides job protection for pregnant and nursing mothers. The FMLA requires employers to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, including the birth of a child or the care of a newborn. During this leave, employers must maintain the employee’s health insurance and, upon their return, must return the employee to their original or equivalent position.
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
ACA requires employers to provide break time and a private place for an employee to express breast milk for up to one year after the child’s birth.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
This prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including pregnancy-related impairments. The ADA requires employers to provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations, such as taking frequent breaks or sitting down.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
OSHA regulations require employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment and to protect employees from hazards that may cause injury or illness. This includes safeguarding pregnant employees from exposure to toxic substances or dangerous working conditions that could harm the fetus.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
The PWFA fills the gap in protections between PDA and ADA to ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding workers can continue working throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding period.
PUMP Act (Provide Useful Maternity Protections)
This Act amends the FLSA to require employers to give a private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding employees to express milk and to allow reasonable break time to do so. This also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who use this break time.
Action against violations of your rights
In addition to these federal laws, many states have laws that provide additional protections for pregnant and nursing mothers. File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), your state’s civil rights agency or the appropriate employment office if there has been a violation of your rights. Before filing a charge, you can also contact the EEOC to learn more about your legal rights.