Pregnancy is one of the most rewarding moments any woman could have. Being under such a condition could be risky, especially if she is working as an employee in a company. Therefore, it is every employer’s obligation to provide necessary protections for the benefit of the pregnant employee. This includes granting her pregnancy and maternity leave and paying for sick benefits, among others.
In the legal sense, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is considered sex discrimination, which is prohibited under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The inclusion of this employment protection into the said federal employment law was made possible by another federal law that amended Title VII, which is called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).
The PDA, via Title VII, covers all employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments, as well as employment agencies, labor organizations, and the federal government. To begin with, the federal law does not allow employers from subjecting their employees to any adverse employment action on the basis of their pregnancy, from hiring, termination, compensation, job assignments, and promotions, to any other employment term or condition.
Covered employers under the PDA must not only treat pregnant women or women suffering from conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth fairly in any aspect of employment, but also treat them the same way as other applicants or employees with similar limitations. For example, if a pregnant employee is unable to do her job because of her condition, then her employer must treat her similarly as any other employee with a temporary disability.
When it comes to fringe benefits, pregnant employees must be provided with the same benefits as those who have non-pregnancy-related conditions. If an employer provides benefits to workers who are taking a leave, it must do the same for pregnant women.
Pregnant employees must know that they are duly protected by the prevailing federal law, and must take action whenever there is an incident of discrimination in their workplaces. For those who may want to know more about their employment protections must consult with Los Angeles employment lawyers. Aside from the PDA, California employees who are pregnant are also covered by the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).