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How are pregnant women protected legally in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2021 | Employment Discrimination |

The law in California offers extensive protections to pregnant women in the workplace. Consequently, employers cannot fire employees if they have missed work due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related symptoms.

These principles are firmly established in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The means of legal protection that pregnant women are offered in employment warrants some further consideration.

Which symptoms of pregnancy does the Act cover?

The law in California aims to protect pregnant women in a manner that is fair. Many women may be able to continue to work throughout their pregnancy with little difficulty. However, other pregnancies can be more complex and may require taking time away from the workplace.

Common health issues that can arise during pregnancy include severe morning sickness, hypertension, gestational diabetes as well as numerous other ailments.

How much leave can pregnant women take?

Legally, women are permitted to take up to four months of pregnancy leave. The time away is typically unpaid unless the employee has vacation time available. Employers are not allowed to dictate when this time off occurs, and it does not have to be taken in one go. Women may take the time as required in line with any medical symptoms.

Does pregnancy leave impact maternity leave?  

Importantly, pregnancy leave and maternity leave are considered to be two separate events. Therefore, employers cannot shorten maternity leave simply because an employee has taken time off during pregnancy. Women will still be entitled to their full 12 weeks of maternity leave regardless.

Understanding the rules relating to pregnancy disability time and maternity leave may be in your best interests. As a pregnant woman, you have legal rights and protections in the workplace.