Finding out you are pregnant should be an exciting and happy time. For many, however, it comes with new challenges which can lead to concerns over their employment.
As a pregnant worker, you may find that you have to take time off for appointments and there are also reasonable adjustments often needed in order for you to continue to do your job.
In California, there are laws that protect you against discrimination and harassment as a result of your pregnancy.
Protection against termination from your job
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act 1978 prevents an employer from discriminating against you on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. This means that they cannot fire you or deny you time off work because of pregnancy. You can also not be denied the opportunity for promotion as a result of your pregnancy alone.
The law also prohibits an employer from refusing to hire someone because they’re pregnant.
What is an employer obliged to do?
- Provide you with reasonable accommodations and modifications to your role if you are no longer able to carry out the tasks you normally would as a result of your pregnancy.
- Under the Pregnancy Disability Act, you are entitled to up to four months of unpaid leave during your pregnancy which also covers conditions such as morning sickness, postpartum depression and other medical complications resulting from the pregnancy.
- Provide regular breaks and a private lactation space in which to express breast milk as required by labor laws.
You should not have to be worried about your job while pregnant. If you’ve advised your employer of your pregnancy and feel like your reasonable needs have not been met, you may benefit from seeking legal assistance.