- Discrimination or harassment against an employee based upon their pregnancy is prohibited by California State Law (the California Fair Employment and Housing Act applies to employers with 5 or more employees) and by Federal Law (the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 applies to employers with 15 or more employees).
- Employers must treat pregnant employees who are unable to do certain tasks the same as other temporarily disabled employees.
- An employer cannot force a pregnant employee to take mandatory leave if she can still perform her essential job functions.
- California law requires that employers must provide you with any reasonable accommodation for pregnancy that they are capable of providing (such as more frequent breaks for trips to the restroom, transfer to a less strenuous or dangerous position while pregnant, ability to work from home if possible).
- Harassing or unwelcome conduct relating to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions is a form of sexual harassment and is prohibited under California and Federal law. An employer is responsible even if the harassment is by a fellow employee or supervisor or if the employer knew or should have known about it and did not take immediate steps to correct it.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against:
- You should begin keeping a paper trail as detailed as possible listing names, times and dates and content of conversations, keeping copies of all correspondence.
- Try to work at the lowest official levels of your company first such as with your direct boss or supervisor. Then proceed up the chain of command. Include your company’s Human Resources Dept. (if there is one). If you are in a union, talk to them. If there is a grievance mechanism, use it.
- Be aware of deadlines if you decide to file an official complaint with a government agency.
- You need to file a complaint with the Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing less than one year from the date of the discriminating act, and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission less than 300 days from the earliest act.