Under California law, an employer with at least five employees must generally provide up to four months disability leave for pregnant women, and cannot discriminate against an employee based on the employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) contains provisions relating to pregnancy discrimination. These provisions cover all employers of five or more employees, or one employee in harassment complaints. In addition to the pregnancy disability leave requirements of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers of fifty or more employees may have additional obligations in granting additional leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Under California law, an employer with at least five employees must generally provide up to four months disability leave for pregnant women. If the employee is eligible for leave under the California Family Rights Acts, the employee potentially can be eligible for close to seven months disability leave for pregnancy. Also, if more than four months of leave is provided for other types of temporary disabilities, the same leave must be made available to women who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. Pregnancy leave is required only when a woman is actually disabled. This includes time off needed for prenatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, and related medical conditions.
Pregnancy is a temporary disability under the law and employers must give pregnant employees the same treatment and benefits that they give to other employees with temporary disabilities. Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their normal duties, and employers must hold open their position during their leave of absence. Upon return from their pregnancy/maternity leave, employees who have been out on such a leave must generally be given the same position they performed before going out on their pregnancy/maternity leave, or a similar position. An employee may have legal remedies if, for instance, she is terminated or demoted during her pregnancy or shortly after returning from maternity leave. Refusal to hire someone when she is pregnant is unlawful if the basis for the refusal is due to the pregnancy.