California law protects the rights of expectant mothers in the workplace. Employers must provide any reasonable accommodation necessary for pregnant women to perform their job duties.
These accommodations are usually temporary and can include a variety of modifications to job duties and work schedules.
Allow more frequent breaks
A simple accommodation many pregnant women need is the ability to take more breaks. Pregnancy stresses various body parts, so a pregnant mother may need to move frequently or rest from a particular position. In addition, pregnant women may need more opportunities to use the restroom than those not expecting. Employers may have to modify deadlines or quota requirements to allow more breaks.
Alleviate strenuous duties
Some jobs involve heavy lifting or other vigorous physical activity. A pregnant woman generally cannot lift heavy items and may have additional restrictions on physical activity. Employers must modify job duties accordingly so that any expecting workers are not undertaking any tasks that are against medical advice.
Eliminate exposures to hazards
Exposure to hazardous materials and equipment is dangerous for pregnant workers. Employers need to provide accommodation to limit a pregnant worker’s exposure to anything that can cause harm.
Provide modified workspace
An expectant mother can have difficulty standing for extended periods. If a job usually requires standing, an employer can accommodate a pregnant worker by providing a seated option. If needed, employers can make other modifications, such as leg elevation options to prevent swelling and back supports.
Under California law, pregnant women can seek reasonable accommodations from their employer without fear of retaliation.