Beginning December 30, 2012, it is unlawful for any employer with one or more employees or other covered entities to harass an employee or applicant because of pregnancy or perceived pregnancy. “Perceived pregnancy” is now added as a new basis for discrimination. There is no eligibility requirement, such as minimum hours worked or length of service, before an employee affected or disabled by pregnancy is eligible for reasonable accommodation, transfer or disability leave.
California's Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) makes it unlawful for employers to do the following because of pregnancy or perceived pregnancy:
Except as excused by a permissible defense, an employer must (1) provide employee benefits for pregnancy, if the employer provides such benefits for other temporary disabilities; (2) pay for coverage under a group health plan for an eligible employee who takes pregnancy disability leave under the same terms and conditions that would have been provided if the employee had not taken leave; and (3) provide reasonable accommodation for an employee or applicant affected by pregnancy.
A woman is “disabled by pregnancy” if, in the opinion of her health care provider, she is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of her job or to perform any of these functions without undue risk to herself, to her pregnancy's successful completion or to other persons. An employee also may be considered to be “disabled by pregnancy” if, in the opinion of her health care provider, she is suffering from severe “morning sickness” or needs to take time off for: prenatal or postnatal care; bed rest; gestational diabetes; pregnancy-induced hypertension; preeclampsia; post-partum depression; childbirth; loss or end of pregnancy or recovery from childbirth, loss or end of pregnancy. These conditions are intended to be non-exclusive and illustrative only.
It is unlawful for an employer to deny a request for reasonable accommodation made by an employee affected by pregnancy if the employee's request is based on the advice of her health care provider. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:
An employee who exercises her right to take PDL is guaranteed a right to return to the same position or to a comparable position and the employer shall provide the guarantee in writing upon the request of the employee. It is unlawful for any employer to refuse to honor its guarantee of reinstatement unless the refusal is justified by the defenses in subdivisions (c)(1) and (c)(2). If the employee takes intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule, only one written guarantee of reinstatement is required.
Please be advised that there are a number of other changes associated with this law. Please contact Joseph J. (J.J.) Minioza who is a co-chair of Ericksen Arbuthnot's Employment Practice if you would like more information or discuss a potential or pending matter. He can be reached at 510.832.7770 or at .