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Employer obligations for pregnant employees under employment law

Women in California who become pregnant should be able to experience this joyous time free of outside concerns such as whether or not the pregnancy will affect their terms of employment. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is in place to protect pregnant women and accord them certain rights and privileges while they are pregnant so they can continue working, receive accommodations as necessary, and not have to be fearful for their jobs. Unfortunately, there are times that employers might not adhere to the required employment law. This is when a woman should understand her rights.

In California, a pregnant woman cannot be discriminated against or harassed due to the pregnancy, the birth of the child, or any medical condition that is related to the pregnancy. Employers are also prohibited from denying the rights that a pregnant employee has. Under this law, the employer is required to accommodate the needs of the employee if they are due to the pregnancy, childbirth or any conditions connected to the pregnancy. With this, the employer must provide a chair or give the worker more breaks than normal if they are needed. The worker must also be transferred to a job that is less hazardous or stressful if one is available if the medical condition makes it necessary.

A worker must receive as much as four months of pregnancy disability leave (PDL). The time will consist of working days in one-third of a year or 17 1/3 weeks. The employee must then be allowed to return to the job when she is not disabled by the pregnancy any longer. Employees are not protected from layoffs during this time. A pregnant worker must be granted reasonable break time and a room for breast milk expression.

When a woman becomes pregnant and needs to have certain accommodations at work or time off, it is a part of employment law that she should receive it. If an employer does not adhere to this law and dismisses an employee, it could be the justification for a legal case due to unlawful reason for termination. So too could denied leave or any other violation lay the foundation for a case. Discussing the matter with a legal professional experienced in pursuing cases due to wrongful termination can help to determine if there is cause to file a claim and seek compensation.

Source: dfeh.ca.gov, "Your Rights And Obligations As A Pregnant Employee," accessed on June 21, 2016

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