In a pregnancy discrimination case scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court on December 3, Young v. United Parcel Service could resolve a circuit split regarding what accommodations a pregnant employee must be given. While some circuits are willing to find discrimination wherever a pregnant employee is denied accommodations similar to those that would be available to an employee who is injured on the job, most circuits only require an employer to treat a pregnant employee the same as a non-pregnant employee – effectively denying special accommodations.
California state law, under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), provides broader protection for pregnant women. FEHA makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodation requested by an employee on the advice of a health care provider for conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. This can include transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position if a similar program is available for disabled individuals or, in the absence of such a program, a transfer might still be available if it can be reasonably accommodated. The California pregnancy disability leave law (“PDLL”) is part of the FEHA and requires employers to provide employees up to four months of leave for disability due to an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
If you feel you have been discriminated against by your employer because of a pregnancy it is important to know your legal rights. Whether you have been wrongfully terminated or denied a reasonable accommodation, consulting with an experienced attorney can inform you of your rights and possible remedies.