The Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination

It is illegal to discriminate against a woman based on the fact that she is pregnant. Employment law provides that pregnant women must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. Below please find the facts about pregnancy discrimination at work.


The first fact about pregnancy discrimination at work is that employers cannot refuse to hire you because you are pregnant, because of a pregnancy-related condition, such as morning-sickness, or because of the opinions of co-workers, clients, or customers.

Pregnancy & Maternity Leave

The second fact about pregnancy discrimination at work is that an n employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee’s ability to work.

If you are temporarily unable to perform your job because of your pregnancy, your employer must treat you the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. This means that if your employer allows other temporarily disabled employees to perform alternative tasks or take leave, then your employer must also allow pregnant women to have these same options.

Pregnant employees are allowed to work as long as they are able to perform their job duties. If you have missed some work because of your pregnancy and you recover, your employer is not allowed to force you to remain on leave until the baby’s birth.

Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, at Government Code §12945, and under the corresponding California Regulations, all employers who employ five or more employees must provide a leave of up to four months, as needed, for the periods of time a woman is disabled by pregnancy. There is no length of service requirement before an employee disabled by pregnancy is entitled to a pregnancy disability leave, so even if a woman was just recently hired, she will still be eligible for leave when she becomes disabled by pregnancy.

Pregnancy leave can be taken intermittently or all at once and is available when a woman is disabled. This type of leave includes leave needed for prenatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, or any related medical condition.

Upon granting pregnancy disability leave to an employee, the employer is obligated to guarantee to reinstate the employee to the same position, and must provide this guarantee in writing if requested by the employee. The employer is only excused from reinstating the employee to the same position under very limited circumstances.

Health Insurance

The third fact about pregnancy discrimination at work is that any health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions.

Fringe Benefits

The fourth fact about pregnancy discrimination at work is that any pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees.

If an employer provides other benefits to workers on leave, the employer must provide those same benefits for employees on pregnancy leave.

Employees on pregnancy leave must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees for calculating seniority, vacation, and pay increases.

Anti-Retaliation Law

The final fact about pregnancy discrimination at work is that an employer cannot retaliate against you for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on pregnancy.