Starting a family is a big decision, and whether your pregnancy is planned or a happy accident, you have rights as an employee in the state of California. Workplace discrimination due to pregnancy can take many forms, and can come at any stage in a woman’s pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits the discrimination of women based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition as a result of either of these experiences. Employers are not allowed to fire, demote or harass an employee due to pregnancy.
If an employer transfers a pregnant employee to a new position, they must demonstrate that the new position is better suited for the employee, and the transferring of positions must not result in a lower pay for the employee. This allows the employer to accommodate you throughout your pregnancy, but it also ensures that you are not wrongfully demoted.
As an employee, you also have the right to take time off due to your pregnancy, and it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you as a result of this leave. California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) requires employers to provide women as many as four months of disability leave if the employee is disabled as a result of her pregnancy or childbirth, which can be used all at once or used sporadically. However, there are guidelines that employees must fall under in order to qualify for this leave, and it is up to the employee’s healthcare provider to determine whether you are unable to work as a result of your pregnancy.
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) also requires some employers to provide pregnant employees an additional 12 weeks of leave after the employee has given birth. This requirement applies to employers who employ more than 50 people, but it is also dependent on how many hours the employee worked in the year prior to the birth of the child.
Regardless of if you are on disability leave or leave after the birth of your child, your employer is required to continue providing health insurance to you even while you’re not working.