What are My Rights as a Pregnant Employee in California?
The Los Angeles, California employment law attorney at the Leichter Law Firm, APC, Aryeh Leichter, knows that while female employees in California may understand that their employers cannot discriminate against them for being pregnant, they may not be fully apprised of their rights for the duration of their pregnancy.
Here is what the Los Angeles County pregnancy discrimination attorney at the Leichter Law Firm wants all pregnant workers in California to know about her rights.
California Employers Have Clear Legal Obligations to Pregnant Employees
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was introduced in 1978 to explicitly provide anti-discrimination protections based on pregnancy status.
Likewise, California law prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant employees concerning training, compensation, or virtually any other aspect of employment.
Beyond a California employer’s legal obligation to ensure they never discriminate, harass, or retaliate against an employee for her pregnancy, they are legally obligated to provide additional protections.
- Reasonably accommodate the medical needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, which may include modified work duties or more frequent breaks.
- Transfer the employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position or duties if medically needed because of pregnancy.
- Afford a reasonable amount of break time and use of a room or other location near the employee’s work area to express breast milk in private outlined in the Labor Code.
- Provide pregnancy disability leave (PDL) of up to four months and return the employee to her same (or comparable) job once she is no longer disabled by your pregnancy.
What is Pregnancy Disability Leave in California?
Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) in California entitles an employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to up to four months of disability leave per pregnancy.
The pregnant employee’s healthcare provider determines how much PDL time is needed and includes the following protections:
- PDL is not for an automatic period, but for the period that the employee is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition.
- PDL does not need to be taken all at once but can be taken on an as-needed basis as required by the healthcare provider’s instruction, including intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule.
- Once an employer has been informed of the necessary PDL, they must guarantee in writing (when requested by the employee) that she can return to work in the same or a comparable position. Upon request of a written guarantee, the employer may require the pregnant employee to submit written medical certification from her healthcare provider substantiating the need for leave.
- PDL may include, but is not limited to:
- Additional or more frequent breaks
- Time for prenatal or postnatal medical appointments
- Doctor-ordered bed rest
- Severe morning sickness
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Recovery from childbirth or loss or end of pregnancy
- Post-partum depression
California employers are required to continue a pregnant employee’s group health coverage during PDL at the same level and under the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if she had continued in employment continuously for the duration of her leave.
Are Pregnant Employees Eligible For Additional Leave Under The California Family Rights Act?
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their own serious health condition or a family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new child.
Eligible pregnant employees include those who have more than 12 months of service with an employer and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period before the date of care or medical leave.
Contact the Leichter Law Firm, APC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you are a pregnant employee in California and believe your employer is not fulfilling its legal duties — despite giving notice and the supporting documentation necessary for reasonable accommodations or leave — contact Aryeh Leichter, the Leichter Law Firm, APC founder and pregnancy discrimination attorney in Los Angeles County today.