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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Review of rights of pregnant employees

There are many women in the Fresno area who work hard to balance both their desire or even need to hold down a full-time job against their desire to have a family.

The balancing act is particularly difficult when a woman is actually going through a pregnancy, as it means that the woman may have doctor appointments, medical issues and the like to deal with during work hours. Additionally, being pregnant means several weeks off following childbirth, and a woman may even decide after having her child to take on the role of a stay-at-home mom.

Unfortunately, many employers may not like these circumstances and, historically, have been tempted to treat pregnant women differently from other employees or even terminate the woman from employment.

Under federal law, this sort of treatment has been illegal since 1978. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, most employers may not discriminate against a pregnant employee. Moreover, when it comes to things like paid time off, disability pay, and the like, there can be no special set of rules or other criteria that apply only to pregnancy.

Pregnant women may have rights under both California law and other federal laws that expand upon the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. For instance, the Family and Medical Leave Act provides a new mom with 12 weeks of unpaid leave during which the woman's job is safe.

The important thing for Fresno, California, women who are contemplating having a child or who are pregnant should remember is that pregnancy discrimination is unlawful. If they are the victims of pregnancy discrimination, legal remedies may be available to them.

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