As this blog has discussed on several previous occasions, it is unlawful for a Fresno, California, employer to treat their pregnant employees, or job applicants, differently because they are pregnant. On the grander scale, this means not firing, refusing to hire or disciplining a person because she pregnant. However, there are also some subtler forms of pregnancy discrimination that can injure employees both emotionally and financially.

For instance, an employer cannot hide behind the excuse that while they don’t have a personal problem with pregnancy, their customers might have either an implicit or even explicit prejudice against pregnant women. Usually, employers have the right to have employees they think will be appealing to their customer base, but pregnancy is one of those cases in which that right is sharply limited. Even if it is for what seems like a legitimate business reason, an employer cannot re-assign, lay off or otherwise negatively treat a pregnant employee. Likewise, when it comes to leave, medical benefits, and the like, pregnant women must be treated in the same way as any other person suffering under a medical condition not related to pregnancy.

While this may be obvious in some cases, in other cases, the employer’s discriminatory behavior in this respect may seem innocuous or even come across as trying to be helpful. For instance, an employer cannot legally require a pregnant employee, who needs intermittent leave for a related medical condition, to extend out the leave through her childbirth. This is discriminatory conduct and, if the leave is unpaid, can also be financially harmful to a pregnant woman.

Pregnancy discrimination may be more subtle than other forms of discrimination, but it still exists. If workers in the Fresno area suspect pregnancy discrimination, they may wish to speak with an experienced employment law attorney.