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Pregnancy Discrimination Act offers protections for workers

It is not unusual for most women to be asked when they plan on having children. For some California residents, the answer is never or not soon. Others may happily announce that they are pregnant or planning to conceive soon. Though those in the latter categories may feel excited about pending motherhood, they may have apprehensions about facing unfair treatment on the job due to pregnancy discrimination.

Just like many other forms of discrimination, treating a pregnant employee or new mother unfairly is against the law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act works to protect employees and prospective employees from discriminatory actions during any part of the employment process, including during application reviews and interviews. It also protects workers from being forced to continue their work-related duties if they are unable.

If pregnancy or childbirth results in an employee being temporarily unable to fulfill her typical work duties, the employer should assess the situation as he or she would with any other temporarily disabled employee. This action also includes providing temporary paid or unpaid leave to an employee disabled by pregnancy or childbirth if that same leave would be provided to any other temporarily disabled employee. However, an employer may require that a doctor’s notes are provided before making accommodations.

No one wants the joyous occasion of expecting a child or recently having a child marred by pregnancy discrimination at work. Unfortunately, not everyone escapes such unfair treatment. If workers in California believe that they were treated unfairly on the job or during the hiring process due to pregnancy, childbirth or related issues, they may wish to explore their legal options for seeking justice.

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