Being pregnant, whether it is your first child or more, comes with a bevy of emotions. You already love the child growing inside of you, but as a dedicated employee you still want your career to advance, even if you need to take some time off for pregnancy and post-partum maternity leave. So, what happens if your employer is difficult and is treating you differently than your co-workers once you became pregnant?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers who have 15 or more employees from treating workers unfairly due to pregnancy. Employers cannot let an employee go or slash their hours due to pregnancy. Pregnant employees are also protected from harassment at work. Pregnant employees cannot be treated differently than other workers based on their pregnancy. These protections extend to job applicants as well. Interviewers cannot inquire as to a job applicant’s pregnancy.
Accommodating for pregnancy
In California, if your workplace has five or more employees, your employer must provide pregnancy accommodations. For example, you must be provided with time off for prenatal medical appointments or extra time to use the rest room or drink some water. You must also be allowed to take up to four months off from work if you are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. This is known as Pregnancy Disability Leave.
Understand your rights
It is important if you are pregnant to understand your rights in the workplace. You do not have to be treated unfairly in the workplace due to your pregnancy. If you believe you are facing pregnancy discrimination, you will want to make sure you know your rights so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.