What Rights Do You Have as a Pregnant Woman in the Workplace?

As a pregnant employee in California who works for a company that staffs at least 15 people, you have certain rights related to your pregnancy status that your employer cannot infringe upon. Outlined by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, these rights set certain guidelines your employer must follow with regard to his or her treatment of you, given your pregnancy status.

Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the PDA asserts that your employer must treat you, in the same manner, he or she would others with similar abilities during your pregnancy. This holds true in all areas relating to employment, from hiring and firing to promotions, breaks, and so on. Furthermore, your employer must treat you, in the same manner, he or she would other employees with similar abilities or disabilities, even if the employer believes doing so could be dangerous or otherwise not in your best interests.

Your employer also cannot discriminate against you during your pregnancy, or because of a past pregnancy or a possible future pregnancy. He or she also may not do so when you have some sort of medical condition or need relating to your pregnancy or childbirth. For example, if you wish to breastfeed your child at work after giving birth, your employer may not discriminate against you for doing so.

If your pregnancy-related condition or impairment qualifies as a disability under the ADA, your employer cannot discriminate against you on account of it. He or she also must make “reasonable accommodations” to make things easier for you, as long as those accommodations do not cause the employer undue hardship.

This information about your rights as a pregnant woman at work is educational in nature and not a substitute for legal advice.

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