Pregnancy Discrimination & Leave
California law prohibits employers with at least five or more employees from discriminating against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or pregnancy-related medical condition.
Generally, an employee who is disabled on account of pregnancy is entitled to up to four months of leave from work. However, if an employer voluntarily allows for a longer disability leave for other types of disabilities, the same amount of leave from work must likewise be available to pregnant employees. (Note: CFRA/FMLA may, in some cases, extend the total amount of leave time a pregnant employee can take.)
Time off needed for routine prenatal care, such as doctor's visits, as well as, time off for medically-ordered bed rest, severe morning sickness, childbirth, recovery from childbirth or other pregnancy-related condition may be counted against the leave time.
If the employee does not exceed the leave time, she is guaranteed the right to return to work at the same position or a comparable position.
Right to Request a Reasonable Accommodation
An employee disabled on account of pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical condition has the right to request a medically-advisable reasonable accommodation, such as a request for less strenuous or less hazardous duties. The request should be based upon the recommendation of your doctor. An employer may require a doctor's note.
Whether the accommodation must be provided is generally based upon whether the accommodation is reasonable and whether the requested accommodation unduly burdens the employer.
A violation of the rights described above may give rise to a claim of sex (pregnancy) discrimination against your employer. These types of claims typically make available the following damages: Compensatory damages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and the reimbursement of reasonable attorney fees and costs.