Pregnancy is a life-changing event that most people view as a positive life change. But employers sometimes do not see things that way. Too many employers view pregnancy as an impediment in the workplace, and they refuse to provide relief to workers that is not only practical, but also legally required.
Pregnancy can be treated like a disability in California workplaces. As such, your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy/disability, particularly when the pregnancy is a high risk one. If an employer refuses to allow such accommodations, your health (and the health of the baby) could suffer, and you could have a valid employment claim.
Reasonable accommodations and employer could make for an employee’s pregnancy include:
- Allowing you to use a stool or a chair
- Allowing you to take more frequent breaks
- Allowing a reasonable amount of time in a private space to express milk
- Temporarily modifying your job duties so they are less strenuous or dangerous
Pregnancy Disability Leave
If your pregnancy is complicated or leaves you unable to work, your employer is required to allow you up to four months of pregnancy disability leave (PDL), depending on your condition. This leave which could provide for needs such as:
- Bed rest
- Time off for doctor appointments
- Post-partum depression
- Pre-gestational diabetes
- Recovery from childbirth
For too many women, a pregnancy becomes not just a physical challenge, but also an employment hurdle. This is not right and it is not legal. If you have been denied reasonable accommodation at work for your pregnancy, you do not have to accept it. You have rights worth defending.