California Family Rights Act
What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees?
What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees?

What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees?

Many women might have concerns if they become pregnant and need to tell their employers. Despite protections under the law for pregnant employees, some hesitate to inform employers until it is necessary. However, employees might have to inform employers of their pregnancy if they experience complications and/or need reasonable accommodations to continue performing their jobs. 

If an employee is denied reasonable accommodations or they experience discrimination based on their pregnancy, they should contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible. 

Common Reasonable Accommodations Needed

California requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations that allow employees to perform their jobs with medical conditions related to pregnancy. Accommodations are reasonable as long as they do not create an undue hardship for the employer. Some common reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees in California include:

  • Schedule modifications, such as shifts that start later in the day due to severe morning sickness
  • Taking additional rest breaks or more frequent bathroom breaks
  • Lactation accommodations
  • Getting transferred to work that involves fewer hazards or avoids exposure to substances
  • Changes to job duties, including less physical labor than usual or less time on their feet
  • Being able to leave work for more frequent visits to the doctor for pregnancy concerns or health complications
  • Remote work if someone cannot travel to work
  • Leave of absence

Sometimes, an employer and employee need to work together to design a reasonable accommodation that addresses how pregnancy is interfering with the employee’s work and how to allow them to continue performing their jobs during pregnancy. 

Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

Employees want to make sure that all communications regarding pregnancy, reasonable accommodations, or other related matters are in writing. An employee should inform the employer of their pregnancy in writing, as well as request for accommodations in writing. Maintain all of these communications and the employer’s responses. 

An employer is required to respond to accommodation requests in good faith. They should work to find the right solution that helps a specific employee continue to work. If the employee requests one accommodation, the employer might offer another one that is more practical for the company. If it meets the employee’s needs, they may accept the employer’s accommodation instead of the one initially requested or continue engaging in an interactive process. 

There are times when pregnant employees suffer complications like preeclampsia, hypertension, or other conditions that require strict bed rest. If an employee needs to take leave, the employer should inform the employee of their rights under the Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law in California. There should be up to four months of PDL available within a 12-month period of work if a doctor confirms a need for the leave. 

Speak with a San Francisco Employment Attorney Today

Employers often violate the rights of pregnant employees by denying reasonable accommodations or qualified leave. If this happens to you in the Bay Area, speak with an employment lawyer from Minnis & Smallets as soon as possible. Please contact us to discuss your rights and what the best course of action might be. 

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