The rights of pregnant workers

If a California worker or job applicant is pregnant, believes that she is pregnant or intends to get pregnant, federal law provides a current or prospective employer may not take discriminatory action against her. Furthermore, an employee cannot face retaliation from an employer based on the fact that she was once pregnant or had an abortion. Employers may not remove or reassign a pregnant worker unless she poses a danger to others.

However, pregnant workers are not allowed to be reassigned or placed on leave simply because their employer believes that the work poses a danger to their pregnancy. There are many other actions that may also be considered discriminatory or retaliatory against those who are pregnant or are having medical issues related to a pregnancy. For instance, an employer may not give a pregnant worker lesser assignments or fail to promote her based on her pregnancy alone. Employers also may not harass a worker because she is pregnant.

Accommodations generally must be granted under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as long as the job can still be done safely and if they are granted to non-pregnant employees who face similar limitations. Those who feel as if they may need accommodations or need to be reassigned to another position should talk with their HR representative.

Those who feel that they have been facing harassment or otherwise treated unfairly by their employers because they are pregnant may wish to consult with an attorney. It may be possible to win back pay or back benefits that may have been lost due to improper termination or a reduction in pay while on a reassignment. Those who have been terminated may also be entitled to get their jobs back if they want them.

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