Sadly, many workers face some form of discrimination on a regular basis. From factory and construction workers to office and admin staff, it is not uncommon for workplace discrimination to create a hostile, untenable environment. While, numerous protections are in place to ensure supervisors and co-workers treat employees fairly on the job, the unfortunate truth is that these laws are consistently broken.
Discrimination comes in many forms but always singles a worker out based on a protected class or status. Gender discrimination is one common example of such unlawful conduct, and pregnancy discrimination is a related but unique form of discrimination which often implicates laws regarding disabilities and/or medical conditions as well as leaves of absence.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
California law has guidelines for employers of pregnant people. For instance, if a pregnant employee needs temporary accommodations, such as long periods of sitting or a transfer to a less physically-strenuous job, the employer has a duty to work with the employee and/or medical care providers in order to facilitate reasonable changes. Failure to do so could be a form of pregnancy discrimination.
What are other examples of pregnancy discrimination?
Aside from providing reasonable accommodations, pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. Under the law, a company should allow a pregnant person up to four months of pregnancy disability leave (“PDL”), so long as a doctor provides proof it is necessary. PDL functions in a similar fashion as FMLA/CFRA leave, in that an employer must ensure that a similar or same position will remain be available upon the employee’s return.
After birth, a pregnant person returning to the workplace should have ample time to express breastmilk as needed throughout a workday. An employer must also allow a worker to have access to a private space to pump.
Workers who have endured pregnancy discrimination are encouraged to seek legal guidance at once. Left unchecked, these instances will only continue to grow in severity and regularity.