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Expecting a child? Understand the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Expecting a child can be an exciting time in any California resident's life. You may have thought about becoming a mother for some time, and now that you are pregnant, you are immensely excited. However, you may get the feeling that some people are not as excited about your news.

In particular, you may think that your employer has taken your good news in a negative way. Though you were just giving him or her a courtesy heads-up about the situation, you may still have anticipated at least a small congratulations. Instead, your boss may have seemed frustrated or even angry about the news.

Pregnancy discrimination

Unfortunately, the possibility exists that you could face pregnancy discrimination on the job. You may not think that someone would treat you in a hostile manner because you were choosing to start a family, but it is not unheard of. Still, acts of pregnancy discrimination are illegal under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and your employer may not take the following actions:

  • Your employer cannot lower your pay, pass you over for a promotion, fire you or negatively affect other terms of your employment because you are pregnant.
  • Your employer cannot require you to provide a doctor's note for needing time off work if he or she does not require such proof for non-pregnant employees.
  • Your employer cannot stop you from working as long as you can still perform your required duties.
  • If your pregnancy causes a temporary disability, your employer must allow you to take disability leave if he or she allows other temporarily disabled employees to do so.
  • Your employer must also accommodate any temporary disability you have, such as providing light duty or giving you an alternative assignment, if he or she would do so for a non-pregnant but temporarily disabled employee.
  • Your employer must also provide the same benefits to you while on medical leave for pregnancy that he or she would for workers on other types of medical leave.

You certainly want your pregnancy to be a positive experience, and you do not want someone else to make you feel bad. If you believe that your employer is violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, you may want to bring your concerns to an employment law attorney. Discussing the specific details of your predicament could help you determine whether taking legal action could suit your circumstances.

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