If your California employer has more than five full-time employees, you have rights to prevent harassment and discrimination if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. For example, while you are pregnant, your employer must allow routine accommodations that help you continue your work-related duties without harming your health and the health of your unborn child.

You do not have to have a certain pregnancy-related work accommodation in mind before you consult with your employer, but if you have an idea, you can present this proposition. Additionally, your employer can determine which accommodation to institute if more than one could work during the duration of your pregnancy.

Types of accommodations

Examples of common workplace accommodations for pregnant women that you could request are as follows:

  • Permission to sit or stand during your shift, and frequent restroom breaks
  • The use of ergonomic office furniture to make working more comfortable
  • Changes to when you work
  • Transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position
  • The elimination of marginal duties from your day-to-day routine
  • Altered work or break schedules for the purpose of resting or using the restroom

Depending on the nature of your job, your employer could also grant permission for you to work from home.

Other accommodation issues

Your employer must allow you to take time off for prenatal or postnatal medical appointments, doctor-ordered bed rest, severe morning sickness, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, recovery from childbirth or loss or end of pregnancy, and/or postpartum depression.

Outside of pregnancy, altered job duties usually result in a reduction in pay. However, while you are pregnant, the law does not allow your employer to reduce the pay you receive if you still attempt to maintain your employment.