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Workplace Discrimination on the Basis of Pregnancy in California

It goes without saying that pregnancy can make working more difficult. State and federal laws offer support for pregnant women in the workplace, establishing rules for leave, mandating reasonable accommodations under certain circumstances, and offering protection against discrimination. Unfortunately, despite the laws, discrimination against pregnant women still occurs in the workplace and can cause significant financial, physical and emotional harm.

When your employer denies you reasonable accommodations you need as a pregnant woman, discriminates against you on the basis of your pregnancy, or denies you the leave you’re entitled to, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Orange County employment law attorney. The Nassiri Law Group focuses on employment law issues, representing employees whose rights have been violated by illegal practices including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) explains that:

“Pregnancy discrimination generally occurs when an employer treats a woman employee or job applicant unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. This type of discrimination may also occur when an employer has policies or practices that exclude women from particular jobs because they could become pregnant.”

The definition of pregnancy discrimination is very broad under federal laws. Any negative treatment on the basis of your pregnancy or childbirth may constitute discrimination. This includes:

  • Refusing to hire a pregnant woman because she is with child.
  • Firing or laying off a pregnant employee on the basis of the pregnancy.
  • Refusing promotion to a woman because she is pregnant.
  • Refusing certain benefits (for instance, when a pregnant woman is unmarried).

Pregnancy discrimination was made illegal on the federal level in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1973. This Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include pregnancy discrimination as a form of sex discrimination. Federal law, therefore, prohibits employers from treating pregnant women differently in any of the terms or conditions of employment on the basis of their pregnancy. This federal law applies in California, along with state protections for pregnant women.

In some cases, women who are pregnant may also receive certain additional protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act for pregnancy-related complications. However, pregnancy itself is not generally considered a disability.

What Benefits am I Entitled to in California as a Pregnant Woman?

Federal and state provisions, including the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California employment laws, offer additional protections and rights to pregnant women in California. A violation or refusal of any of these benefits can result in an employer facing serious consequences. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, for example, addresses the issues of:

  • Disability and pregnancy leave.
  • Continued health insurance on leave.
  • Added sick-time, vacation, or other leave added to pregnancy leave.
  • Absences for illnesses related to the pregnancy.
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA) leave, which allows for a potential 12 weeks of leave time.
  • A reduced work schedule.
  • Reasonable accommodations required.
  • Return rights.

Understanding the added protections in California is very important and you should consult with an experienced Orange County employment law attorney for help if you believe your employer has violated any of your legal rights or failed to provide benefits you are entitled to receive.

Call an Attorney who can Help With Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination

If you believe you’re being deprived of benefits or facing workplace discrimination on the basis of your pregnancy, an Orange County employment law attorney at The Nassiri Law Group can help you understand your rights and take action against an employer who treats you unfairly. Call us today at (949) 375-4734 to schedule a free consultation.

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