Guide to Pregnancy Discrimination in California

Guide to Pregnancy Discrimination in California

If you’re like many women in California, you know that it’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because you’re pregnant, you’ve just had a baby, or you have any medical condition related to pregnancy. But do you know the specifics? Here’s a guide to pregnancy discrimination in California to ensure you understand your rights as a mom-to-be or new mom.

Guide to Pregnancy Discrimination in California

First things first: if you believe you’ve been discriminated against because of pregnancy or a related medical condition, you have every right to contact an attorney. You can call us at any time at 818-230-8380 to talk to a compassionate, caring and knowledgeable lawyer about your situation. With that said, feel free to explore this guide and get more familiar with your rights.

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating women applicants or employees unfavorably on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or other, related conditions. It can include things like:

  • Refusal to hire a pregnant woman
  • Firing or demoting a pregnant employee
  • Denying a woman her job back (or a similar job) when she returns from pregnancy-related leave
  • Treating pregnant employees differently than others
  • Failing to give a male worker health insurance coverage for his wife’s pregnancy related conditions, in some cases (you should talk to an attorney if this has happened in your case)

What Are Pregnancy Related Conditions?

Pregnancy related conditions can cover a wide range of things, including:

  • Severe morning sickness
  • Bed rest that’s been ordered by a doctor
  • Childbirth
  • Recovery after childbirth
  • Any other related medical conditions

Employers have to give pregnant and post-birth employees the same treatment and benefits that it gives to other temporarily disabled employees.

What Are Some Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination?

These can be examples of pregnancy discrimination:

  • An employer asks a job candidate how many kids she has and whether she’s planning to become pregnant again. The employee reveals that she is currently pregnant, and the employer tells her to come back after her child’s birth to reapply.
  • A pregnant woman tells her supervisor she’s pregnant, and the supervisor fires her – even though she’s still able to perform her job.
  • A pregnant worker asks to stop lifting heavy boxes during her pregnancy, either because she has been advised to do so by her doctor or because another employee who underwent a back surgery was allowed to stop lifting heavy boxes. The employer says no.

It’s a good idea to talk to an attorney if you’re not sure whether you’ve been a victim of this type of discrimination.

Do You Have to Tell an Employer You’re Pregnant?

You do not have to tell your employer (or an employer you want to work for) that you’re pregnant as long as you can perform your job’s major functions. Employers can’t ask you if you’re pregnant, either, or even if you plan to have children. Your pregnancy will most likely become apparent to your employer, but even if you never volunteer the information, your employer is not legally allowed to make any employment decisions based on your pregnancy.

Can an Employer Make You Take Time Off for Pregnancy?

Your employer cannot force you to take leave because you’re pregnant as long as you’re able to perform your job. That’s true even if your employer believes it’s acting in your best interest. You must be permitted to work if you can perform your job.

Can an Employer Restrict Your Job Duties Because You’re Pregnant?

Your employer can’t force you to stop performing certain job duties due to pregnancy if you don’t request any change in your job duties. You must be permitted to continue performing your job at all times during your pregnancy. However, if you request a modification of your job duties, your employer has to treat your request the same way it would treat other requests from employees with other conditions.

What Should You Do if Your Employer Has Discriminated Against You Due to Pregnancy in California?

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you, you can call an attorney to talk about your situation. Your lawyer will ask questions about what’s going on, answer your questions, and let you know if you’re likely facing discrimination.

Call our office at 818-230-8380 for a free consultation. We can give you the help you need.


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