Workers in Long Beach may understand that pregnant women have rights in the workplace: it is illegal for a company to refuse to hire a worker simply because the worker is pregnant or to fire an employee who becomes pregnant.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made it illegal for employers to treat a pregnant woman differently from other employees or to treat a woman adversely due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

What the law doesn’t cover, though, is requiring all employers in the U.S. to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, such as approving flex time for medical appointments, giving pregnant women permission to sit down periodically or allowing pregnant workers to do only light duty work. When employers have no obligation to accommodate these common needs of pregnant workers, women who are pregnant could be at risk of losing their jobs.

When an employer refuses to accommodate a pregnant woman’s requests for modifications that may affect her health or the health of her unborn baby, the pregnant employee may be put in a difficult position. Many women cannot afford to quit their jobs or be at risk of losing their jobs, but they also need to focus on their health and safety as well as the health and safety of their unborn babies. Additionally, many pregnant women rely on their health insurance provided by employers to help cover expenses for medical appointments and hospital stays.

According to one pediatrician, most women run higher risks of infections, anemia, blood clots, fainting, arrhythmia and depression during pregnancy. These risks can often be minimized when women take good care of themselves during pregnancy. Women should not have to sacrifice their health and safety because their employers refuse to accommodate their needs when they are pregnant.

In recent months the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was introduced with the intention of strengthening the 1978 law and to compel employers to better accommodate the needs of pregnant workers. However, the act never made it out of Congress.

Source: Philly.com, “Pregnancy discrimination: a real-world challenge,” Bette Begleiter and JoAnne Fischer, Jan. 8, 2013

  • Our Los Angeles / Long Beach employment law firm handles a wide variety of workplace pregnancy discrimination claims. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace as a result of your pregnancy, you may want to consult an attorney in order to learn more about protecting your rights.