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Bryant Whitten, LLP

California employers must take steps to help pregnant moms

A previous post on this blog discussed a sad case in which a pregnant mom, who was a California prison guard, lost her baby after she had to break up a fight involving inmates. The woman is now suing her employer on account of its medical leave policy, a policy which she claims served to discriminate against pregnant employees.

The woman's story illustrates that California employers have to do more than just not fire or discipline a woman just because she is pregnant.

Unfortunately, many employers in this state do indeed overtly punish an employee for being pregnant, oftentimes under the pretext that she violated some obscure workplace rule or just was not performing well. This sort of behavior cannot be tolerated.

However, employers in this state must also ensure that women who are pregnant get appropriate leave time when they must get treatment for pregnancy-related conditions. They may not discipline a pregnant employee, in a roundabout way, by denying time off or counting pregnancy-related absences as unexcused.

Moreover, since pregnancy is considered a legal disability, under federal law, an employer must give accommodations to a pregnant employee, including necessary breaks or even a more flexible, shorter work schedule.

Significantly to the recent story reported on, employers must also provide appropriate alternative job duties and cannot rely on internal policies to force a pregnant employee into working in a position that is dangerous to her or to her unborn child.

Our law office understands the rights pregnant women have in Fresno workplaces, and we are adept at applying the various laws which confer these rights so as to protect our clients. We have on many prior occasions used our expertise and experience in pregnancy discrimination cases to get women the justice they deserve.

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