Workplace discrimination in California comes in many forms. We frequently hear of discrimination based on ethnicity and gender. Workplace discrimination can also arise as a result of an individual’s transitional status, including pregnancy. California and federal laws have defined a fairly narrow means through which workplace discrimination based on pregnancy might occur.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act plays a role in extending pregnancy-related protections to workers. When this federal law applies to a particular business, a woman would be entitled to a total of 12 work weeks of unpaid leave as a result of a pregnancy. This leave would be on top of any healthcare or other leave benefit offered by a particular covered employer. If an employer treated a pregnant woman differently than other employees when applying the Family and Medical Leave Act, that business might not only be held to have violated the law but may be deemed to have committed workplace discrimination as well.
Businesses governed by the Family and Medical Leave Act
Not all employers are obliged to follow the mandates of the Family and Medical Leave Act. In order to be bound by the provisions of this law, a business must employ 50 or more workers during 20 or more weeks during the preceding calendar year.
Temporary leave for disabled employees
Regardless of the provisions of FMLA or the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a business might extend some type of leave to disabled employeessome type of leave to disabled employees. In California, a pregnant woman must be permitted to take advantage of the same type of leave extended to other employees with a disability. If a business fails to extend this coverage to a pregnant woman, a claim for workplace discrimination might be possible.