Were you happy to hear that you were pregnant until you realized you would have to tell your boss? If so, you aren't alone. With competition fierce in some of California's industries, you may think you could either lose your job or be denied one due to your pregnancy.
Logically, you should have nothing to fear. However, in reality, many women suffer from pregnancy discrimination. Now that you are pregnant, you may benefit from understanding your rights under an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which applies to all employers with at least 15 employees.
What protections does the PDA provide you?
You may understand why an employer would hesitate when it comes to a woman's pregnancy, but that does not mean you have to put up with discrimination because you are having a baby. The PDA provides you with the following protections:
- Your employer cannot discriminate against you relative to your job assignments, training, promotions, pay and other working conditions just because you are pregnant.
- Your employer cannot require you to go through special procedures to determine the need for an accommodation, leave or disability that any other employee would not have to undergo for a non-pregnancy related issue.
- If you are unable to perform your job duties due to a pregnancy-related condition, you must receive the same treatment any other temporarily disabled employee would receive.
- If other employees receive certain benefits due to their medical condition, you must receive them as well. Your employer cannot exclude you due to your pregnancy.
- Your employer's health care insurance must provide you with the same benefits received by employees with other medical conditions.
- Your employer must not retaliate against you for exercising the rights given to you under the PDA or filing a complaint under the act because your employer violated it.
You receive these protections regardless of the fact that you are pregnant or suffer from a pregnancy-related condition. An employer also cannot discriminate against you during your pregnancy because customers or co-workers share their prejudicial biases with your boss.
If you believe your employer violated the PDA in some way, you may have legal options. To better understand what steps to take next, you would probably benefit from scheduling a consultation with an experienced employment law attorney.