The act of disclosing a pregnancy to an employer carries significant importance, especially when seeking workplace accommodations. Making the employer aware of the pregnancy opens up the opportunity for dialogue about any necessary alterations to the work environment or schedule, ensuring the well-being of both the employee and the unborn child. However, navigating the complexities of employment law can be daunting. In California, employees may wonder whether they are required to report their pregnancy status to their employer. The answer lies in understanding the legal guidelines and obligations that both employers and employees must adhere to. Minnis & Smallets LLP is here to help pregnant employees understand their options. Contact us for case-specific advice.
In the state of California, no legal deadlines mandate employees to notify their employers about a pregnancy. However, should an employee require pregnancy-related leave, accommodation, or temporary transfer, a 30-day advance notice becomes necessary, provided the need for such is foreseeable. In situations where giving a 30-days notice is impracticable, such as an unforeseen medical issue, it is expected that the employee provides notice as soon as possible.
Before starting this conversation, it is advisable to review the employer’s policies on pregnancy and parental leave. It is also essential to reassure the employer of continued commitment to the job and plans to return to work after the baby arrives. This is crucial as some employers may assume that pregnancy signals an end to an employee’s dedication and reliability.
Under California law, employees have a right to reasonable accommodation for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, or related medical conditions when requested with the advice of a healthcare provider. These accommodations can include modified work practices, schedules, more frequent or longer breaks, a stool or chair for sitting, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous duties or positions, break time, and appropriate facilities for pumping breast milk, among others.
When requesting an accommodation, it is beneficial to come prepared with a plan—what kind of changes are needed, and how can these alterations be implemented? It is advisable to specify what the limitation is and what kind of accommodation is required, including any job duties that need modification.
Once an accommodation request is made, the employer is required to engage in a two-way conversation with the employee. The employer may ask for a note from a healthcare professional to confirm that the reasonable accommodation is “medically advisable.” However, it is important to note that employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for requesting an accommodation.
While there is no legal obligation for California employees to report a pregnancy to their employer immediately, it is necessary when seeking pregnancy-related accommodations at work. It is also crucial to remember that employers have a responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and ensure a discrimination-free workspace.
At Minnis & Smallets LLP, we pride ourselves on providing personal attention to our clients and helping them navigate through complex employment situations. For further assistance, contact us for a consultation. We are here to help.
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