Californians who believe discrimination against pregnant employees is something from the past are often given a rude awakening when they face pregnancy discrimination themselves. A common factor preventing a worker from filing a claim when confronted with pregnancy discrimination is that she may not know when she has been discriminated against. Having a basic understanding of the obligations an employer has under the law is key to knowing when legal action is justified. When there pregnancy discrimination has occurred, it is wise to have legal advice to ensure that a claim is filed at the correct time and supported by the best evidence available.

When an employee is pregnant, the employer must give reasonable accommodations that are linked to the employee’s pregnancy, having given birth, or conditions related to the pregnancy. That includes a modification of an employee’s duties, giving her the option to sit, and providing breaks more frequently. The worker can be shifted to a job that is less stressful or does not have the same hazards if there is one available, or she can be given different duties if it is medically necessary.

A worker can be given pregnancy disability leave for as long as four months, which allows her to return to the same job once the disability from the pregnancy is no longer in effect. Alternatively, a similar job must be provided upon the employee’s return to work. Also, once returned to work, an employee in this situation must be given reasonable break times and an appropriate space for pumping breast milk It’s important to note, though, that workers are not protected from being laid off while on pregnancy disability.

Discrimination in a California workplace can take many forms. Employers who are uninterested in or unaware of treating employees within the confines of the law will commit various forms of discrimination and oftentimes do so under the belief that there is nothing the employee can do about it. With pregnancy discrimination, this is especially egregious as it can cause stress to a new mother adding to her current health concerns. For those who believe their employer has not fulfilled the legal obligations for pregnant employees, an experienced attorney can help with a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.