Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Your rights as a pregnant employee in California

Being pregnant while working can naturally create some challenges, even in the best of circumstances. This is because many expectant mothers go through health struggles intermittently in their pregnancy, or suffer considerably at certain periods. For example, pregnant women who are suffering from extreme morning sickness may be forced to take time off work, and they may even need to be admitted to the hospital. Furthermore, many pregnant women struggle with insomnia, which could also affect their ability to work throughout their pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or if you are planning to get pregnant, you should take the time to understand your rights in the California workplace as a pregnant employee. By doing so, you will be better equipped to assert your rights if they are violated. The following are some of the key rights in California for pregnant employees.

Pregnancy medical needs must be reasonably accommodated

During pregnancy, you may need to attend doctors' appointments frequently, and doing so within work hours may be necessary. Your employer, if it is reasonable to do so, should allow you to be flexible with your work hours to accommodate these medical needs. Other medical needs should also be accommodated by your employer when they are reasonable. For example, you will need to refrain from heavy lifting, and you may need to regularly sit down or take breaks.

You have the right to pregnancy disability leave (PDL)

PDL gives pregnant women four months of leave that is job-protected. This means that your job will be protected from pregnancy-related discrimination during this time, but it will not be protected from non-pregnancy-related job termination such as lay-offs.

You have the right to an appropriate place to express breast milk

All workplaces must provide new mothers with an appropriate place to express breast milk when they are at work. New mothers should also be given a sufficient amount of break time to express breast milk privately and comfortably.

Sadly, pregnancy rights violations and pregnancy discrimination incidents still occur in California workplaces. If you believe that you have been subjected to pregnancy discrimination, you must take the time to understand the law and consider taking legal action if you deem it appropriate.

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