What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Pregnancy Protection Act Prohibits Discrimination

April 13, 2019 Rager & Yoon Discrimination

Having a baby is nothing if not a milestone moment, but what parents may see as a joyous event may not be as well-received among employers. Unfortunately for women, pregnancy can have a negative impact on their careers, but the good news is, the law affords some protections to prevent most employers from unlawful discrimination based on a woman’s reproductive status.

California workers and job applicants are protected from pregnancy discrimination; most employers cannot give a pregnant woman less favorable treatment due to her pregnancy. To do so is treated by the law as a type of sex discrimination. Pregnant women have protection at both state and federal levels.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA, prohibits harassment and discrimination of workers based on pregnancy and applies to employers with five or more workers. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits these same actions but applies only to employers with 15 or more workers. In addition, pregnancy-related leave is protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act as well as state laws, including FEHA, California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, the New Parent Leave Act, and the California Family Rights Act. Each of these laws has its own particular requirements for eligibility. Consult with our Riverside discrimination attorney to discuss your case in greater detail.

Discrimination of pregnant women can manifest in several different ways. Unlawful pregnancy discrimination might include:

  • Failing to provide reasonable accommodations for a pregnancy-related disability for a pregnant employee.
  • Demoting or terminating the employment of a pregnant worker because of medical conditions that occur related to her pregnancy.
  • Basing a refusal to hire on the fact that an applicant is pregnant or may be pregnant in the future.
  • Discriminating against a worker who needs to breastfeed, pump breast milk, or treats medical problems related to breastfeeding or provides lactation breaks.
  • Refusing to give a pregnant worker time off to give birth or to handle medical problems related to the birth of a child, provided the woman is entitled to take time off under the law.

When employers operate outside the sex discrimination laws provided to pregnant employees or new mothers, then the employee may have grounds for a claim against the employer. For the claim to be successful, the following must be true:

  • The employer is a covered entity under the law; this generally means that the employer has five (15 in federal cases) or more employees.
  • A negative action was taken against the employee that involved terms of employment, compensation, working conditions, or job assignments.
  • The negative action as a result of the pregnancy, pregnancy-related disability, or the woman’s potential to become pregnant.
  • The employee suffered harm because of the negative action.

These protections are afforded to regular and temporary employees, job applicants and unpaid interns. If you were treated negatively due to your pregnancy, had your pay lowered because you were pregnant, given negative performance reviews due to your pregnancy, had your hours reduced or were fired due to being pregnant, contact Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers right away to discuss your case details with our discrimination attorneys in Riverside. We will fight for your rights to work in a discrimination-free workplace. Contact us for a free consultation now.

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