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Establishing Your Rights As A Pregnant Worker

In California, pregnant women have the following employment rights:

  1. An employer cannot discriminate against you because you are pregnant, have a medical condition related to your pregnancy, gave birth to a child, or wish to breastfeed.
  2. An employer must continue to pay for your health insurance while you are on pregnancy leave.
  3. An employer must provide you with reasonable accommodation, such as a transfer to a less strenuous position, if you require such accommodation during your pregnancy.
  4. An employer must allow you to use sick leave, vacation time, or other accrued time off for compensation during your leave.
  5. An employer must provide break time and space for you if you wish to express milk for your children.

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you on the basis of your pregnancy, contact the employment law attorneys at Brock & Gonzales LLP to discuss your rights and options. Call 310-294-9595 or send us an email. With offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento, we represent wronged employees statewide.

What Laws Apply To Pregnant Workers?

There are three laws that apply to pregnant workers in California. Whether the law applies to you depends on how many employees work for your employer.

  1. Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL) – applies to employers with 5 or more employees
  2. Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – applies to employers with 5 or more employees
  3. California Family Rights Act (CFRA) – applies to employers with 50 or more employees (this law is California’s equivalent to the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – if the FMLA applies to your employer so does CFRA

How Much Pregnancy Leave Are You Entitled To Take?

The PDL entitles you to take 4 months (17 1/3 weeks) of leave from work. After 4 months, your employer must return you to your same or equivalent position.

Can You Take Additional Leave After 4 Months To Bond With Your Child?

Yes, but only for employees that work for an employer with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. If you work for such an employer, the CFRA allows you to take additional leave of up to 12 weeks to bond with your child so long as you have worked for your employer for more than 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period, and have CFRA leave available.

What If You Are Disabled And Unable To Return To Work When Your Pregnancy Leave Expires?

The FEHA entitles you to take an additional leave of absence for as long as it takes for you to treat and recover so long as the leave does not create an undue hardship to your employer.

What If You Wish To Breastfeed After You Return To Work?

California Labor Code Section 1030 mandates that every employer provide break time and a space for their employees who are nursing to express milk for their children, unless doing so “would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.” The break time is to run concurrently with the employee’s existing break time, if possible. If not, the break time for expressing milk will be unpaid.  The law also requires the employer to “make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for the employee to express milk in private.”

These breastfeeding requirements apply to all California employers, regardless of how big or small the company. If an employer fails to comply with this law, the employer must pay a $100 civil penalty for each violation.

Contact A California Employment Law Attorney

Brock & Gonzales LLP specializes in protecting the rights of pregnant women. If you feel your rights have been violated, please call 310-294-9595 or contact us via email for a free consultation. We have offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento, and we fight to protect the rights of employees throughout California.

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