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Know your rights as a working pregnant woman

Pregnancy is a joyous condition for many women. However, even a women who is thrilled about being pregnant might be wary to discuss the pregnancy with her employer. This is partially because she might be worried about how the employer will react to the news.

One thing that all employees and employers should realize is that discriminating against a woman because she is pregnant is illegal. Here are some points that you should know about this form of discrimination:

Two forms of protection

Pregnancy is a covered condition on a federal level due to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It is also covered in California under state laws. All workers in this state can enjoy the protections of the federal law. The state law comes into the picture when an employer has five or more employees.

Scope of the rights

Pregnant women can't be retaliated against or fired just because they are pregnant. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for the woman if there is something that she needs this for. It is also possible that a pregnant woman will need to take time off of work. This is covered under the anti-discrimination laws.

A reasonable accommodation isn't cut and dry. It depends on your workplace and the type of accommodation you need. These can include everything from being provided a stool or chair while you work to being given a transfer to a job that isn't as demanding. You might even qualify for temporary disability.

Temporary disability

Pregnant women sometimes have to take off of work due to pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia. In these cases, the woman might be eligible for temporary disability. From a federal standpoint, the employer would treat this disability as any other temporary disability. Under California law, a pregnant woman who is required to take time off of work can qualify for up to four months of pregnancy disability leave. If an employer provides longer temporary disability for other conditions, the employer must extend that same coverage to a pregnant woman who needs temporary disability. This is different from the Fair Employment Act, the California Medial Leave Act and other applicable laws.

Workers who think that they haven't been treated in accordance with the laws governing pregnancy in the workplace might need to take action to make the employer realize the issue. In some cases, reminding the employer about pregnancy laws could be sufficient but there may be times when more serious action is necessary.

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