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Actions that could be considered pregnancy discrimination

Some people across California, including business owners and individuals alike, may have read our blog post at the beginning of the year in which we talked about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. For those who did not read the post, we discussed what pregnancy discrimination is and touched on the fact that employers who fail to follow state and federal employment laws could find themselves facing litigation if they discriminate against a worker because of their pregnancy.

Though some of our readers may be able to take what we talked about and use it to easily recognize behaviors that could lead to litigation, not all of our readers may be able to do this. That's why in today's post, we'd like to continue the conversation about pregnancy discrimination and highlight a few ways in which California employers could infringe on a worker's rights.

Failing to provide leave

Because some pregnancies can result in disabilities or other serious health conditions, California law requires employers in our state to provide a female worker with as much as four months of leave in these situations. A worker does not have to be full-time in order to be eligible for this leave nor is there a requirement for length of work prior to receiving leave.

Failing to make reasonable accommodations

When requested, employers in our state are required by law to make reasonable accommodations in order to help a pregnant employee continue doing their duties, even if they are in a diminished capacity. Reasonable accommodations might include putting a pregnant employee on light duty or permitting leave when applicable.

Failing to provide health insurance while worker is on leave

It is against the law in California for an employer to terminate or suspend a pregnant worker's health insurance during the up-to-four-month leave period.

Terminating or laying off a pregnant worker

It's against federal law to terminate or layoff a worker simply because they are pregnant. The burden of proof is on employers to justify their decision, which must have been done so in accordance with the law.

Sources: The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, "Fair Employment and Housing Act - Pregnancy," Accessed June 9, 2015

The U.S. Equal employment Opportunity Commission, "Pregnancy Discrimination," Accessed June 9, 2015

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