It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a woman based on pregnancy. State and federal laws protect women against this form of discrimination in all aspects of employment, including interviewing, hiring, firing and promoting.
What Are Your Rights During Pregnancy and After Childbirth?
If your pregnancy causes you to need a reasonable accommodation, your employer is required to engage in the interactive process, described here. For example, if because of pregnancy, an employee can no longer safely lift more than 10 pounds, she can request an accommodation such as assistance in lifting heavier objects, being relieved of the duty to lift such objects or being moved to another position that does not require such lifting. The failure to accommodate a pregnant employee's request would likely be an act of discrimination.
After childbirth, an employer must grant the employee medical leave for a reasonable amount of time. For example, under the California Family Rights Act, a woman has up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave following childbirth. Additionally, under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), an employee can request up to four months of unpaid leave if she is disabled by her pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination can be based on actual pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to the pregnancy. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for any of these pregnancy-related reasons.
Examples of pregnancy discrimination include employers taking the following actions against a pregnant employee:
- Refusing to hire
- Asking a female applicant whether she intends to become pregnant
- Changing job assignments without a valid reason
Are Employees Protected From Discrimination After a Past Pregnancy?
Yes. Employees and job applicants cannot be discriminated against because of a past pregnancy or related medical condition. Employees cannot be fired after returning from any pregnancy-related need.
What Medical Conditions Related to Pregnancy or Childbirth Are Covered?
Pregnant employees may suffer from medical conditions during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against these employees. Examples of medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth include:
- Back pain
- Gestational diabetes
- Conditions that require bed rest
- Lactation issues
Contact Us About Your Pregnancy Discrimination Case
If you have experienced pregnancy-related discrimination in the workplace, contact an attorney at Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. We have offices in Los Angeles and New York so we can help clients across the country. Call us at 323-302-4774 or 212-202-2966 to arrange for a case evaluation.