California has laws and regulations that protect pregnant employees from discrimination and harassment, and ones that provide for leave due to disability related to pregnancy, childbirth and pregnancy-related medical conditions.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (the “FEHA”) outlaws covered employers from engaging in several employment practices relating to persons on account of pregnancy. These prohibitions include, but are not limited to: refusing to hire or promote, demoting, harassing an employee, or terminating employment on account of pregnancy.

The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”) (California Government Code § 12945(a)) that is contained within FEHA, requires covered employers to provide qualified employees with up to four months of unpaid leave for disability due to an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related medical conditions such as severe morning sickness or time off from work for prenatal care. The timing, length and the manner of using PDLL leave will vary depending on the particular situation.

PDLL also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee affected by a known pregnancy-related disability or medical condition. The nature of accommodation will vary depending on the circumstances of each situation. In some instances, it may include granting an employee’s requested temporary transfer, on the advice of the employee’s physician, to a “less strenuous or hazardous” position for the duration of the pregnancy-related disability.

PDDL is independent of the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and the rights under these two statutes are separate and distinct.

PDDL does not impose requirements such as minimum hours worked or length of service for an employee of a covered employer to be eligible for PDDL leave.

If an eligible employee is granted PDDL leave, the employee is afforded a right to reinstatement to the same or comparable position at the conclusion of the PDDL leave subject to certain exceptions. PDDL also creates protections for the employee pertaining to seniority and benefit accrual.

It is an unlawful employment practice for a covered employer to violate an eligible employee’s PDDL rights.

Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer if you believe that you have been denied PDDL leave, denied reasonable accommodation, or if you have suffered discrimination, harassment or retaliation on account of your pregnancy or for exercising your PDDL rights.

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