Under state law, California workers have several protections if they attend a job while pregnant. The law regards pregnancy as a disability or medical condition, depending.
Thus, employers must make accommodations for pregnant workers. This includes the possibility of additional breaks.
Why do pregnant workers need more breaks?
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing discusses the rights of pregnant workers. They discuss several factors related to the breaks pregnant workers take.
First, many pregnant workers need more breaks than mandated for a normal, healthy worker. They need to rest or stretch more often, and they often need to take more bathroom breaks as well.
Taking needed breaks can keep workers safe, healthy and comfortable. The productivity of pregnant workers may end up reduced if they cannot take the breaks they need, harming both the worker as well as the company’s bottom line as a whole.
Unlawful actions against pregnant workers
The Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents employers from taking unfair action against pregnant workers. This includes stripping workers of their ability to take extra breaks if they need them.
It is not a legal requirement for pregnant workers to submit requests for more breaks in writing. Doing so can create a paper trail, however. This works in the favor of the employee, especially in cases where an employer may make it obvious they do not want to comply and give extra breaks where needed.
If an employer continues to insist on not providing the appropriate break times for pregnant workers, then it is possible to take legal action against them.