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Your legal rights as a pregnant woman at work

In the event you become pregnant over the course of your work, you do have some obligations toward your employer. You must give your boss reasonable notice of the pregnancy so that he or she can make reasonable accommodations, such as finding a replacement for you during the time you will need off. 

However, just because you are pregnant does not mean things should change. People at your work should treat you the same, and you should expect reasonable accommodations from your employer during this time. You have legal rights, and you need to be aware of them. 

Rights within the first trimester

Most women find out they are pregnant during the first trimester. You should tell your boss about the pregnancy during this time. Once learning your pregnancy, your boss cannot fire or demote you because of it. You may need some accommodations at this point. For example, morning sickness may keep you at home longer, so you show up to work later. You should speak with your boss about this to see if you can show up to work later in the day and stay later in the afternoon. 

Rights within the second trimester

At the second trimester, you may start to show. Coworkers may start making comments, and it is important to recognize when these comments cross a line. You should notify your company's human resources department if you believe the comments constitute harassment. 

Rights within the third trimester

This is generally the time when women start looking toward paid leave. The California Family Rights Act considers any employers in the state who have at least 50 workers who all live within 75 miles of the worksite. There is also Family Temporary Disability Insurance, which pays mothers up to 55% of their salaries, up to $1,075 a week, while they take time off. This program lasts for six weeks after giving birth. 

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