Pregnancy at Work

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Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee

In California, there are numerous laws that protect your right to work while pregnant. These laws are strong and, when enforced, very effective at protecting you from pregnancy discrimination, retaliation, and failure to accommodate.

The Right to Be Free from Discrimination and Retaliation

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), your employer cannot fire you, demote you, force you to take leave, deny you promotions, deny you assignments, or otherwise treat you differently because of your pregnancy.

The Right to Be Free from Harassment

FEHA also prohibits harassment. Your co-workers and supervisors cannot harass you for being pregnant or breastfeeding, including unwanted and uncomfortable commentary about your pregnancy body or breastfeeding.

The Right to Reasonable Accommodations (PDLL)

California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) gives you the right to partially paid, job-protected leaves of absence for your pregnancy-related disabilities and requires your employer to try to accommodate your medical needs.

The Right to Intermittent Leave (PDLL)

Under the PDLL, you have the right to up to four months of “job-protected” leave. (“Job-protected” leave means you must be restored to your position or, in limited circumstances, to a comparable position). PDL is partially paid through the state’s disability leave program, up to a weekly cap.

The Right to Leave (CFRA/FMLA)

Leave under CFRA is unpaid. It “stacks” with leave under the PDLL, meaning you may be entitled to up to four months (under the PDLL) plus 12 weeks (under CFRA). This means that workers at most employers (over five people) can take up to approximately seven months of job-protected leave—four months of PDL and three months of CFRA leave.

The Right to Paid Family Leave

California’s New Parent Leave Act allows new parents to apply through the EDD for up to eight weeks of partially paid leave to bond with a new baby. PFL is not “job-protected,” but you can use CFRA leave, which is unpaid, and apply for PFL at the same time.

The Right to Leave Under Paid Sick Leave Laws

Under California law, most employers must provide at least three days of paid sick leave per year. Employees earn at last 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers are required to allow employees to use paid sick leave after 90 days of employment.

If you were denied your right to take maternity leave, or suffered discrimination or retaliation after taking leave, contact King & Siegel immediately.

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