Are Businesses Required to Provide Accommodations for Pregnant Workers?
Pregnancy laws in California and nationwide require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers who are considered temporarily disabled. Reasonable accommodations are modifications to workplaces or duties that allow disabled employees to carry out job tasks.
A hypothetical situation can help explain what a reasonable accommodation involving pregnancy might look like.
What Is a Reasonable Accommodation?
Sue is eight months pregnant and working for a large grocery store chain in Southern California. Over the last few weeks, she has developed back pain from stocking shelves at the end of her shift. Stocking is only one of several job duties required of Sue. She also spends time a the register bagging groceries and helping customers. A doctor appointment reveals Sue has developed a musculoskeletal condition related to her pregnancy. The condition is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Sue receives a note from her doctor that recommends she use a stool during her eight-hour shift and avoid heavy lifting. These accommodations would not impose an undue hardship on Sue’s employer. The employer reviews the note and makes the appropriate modifications the Sue’s job duties.
Reasonable accommodations allow workers with disabilities, temporary or permanent, the ability to do their jobs. These accommodations do not impose undue hardships on employers.
How Do Pregnancy Laws in California Protect Workers?
Pregnant workers in California may have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Pregnancy Disability Leave law. Although the focus of this blog discussed reasonable accommodations, businesses may also be required to provide pregnant workers with temporary leave.
There are many ways employers may fail to accommodate pregnant employees. Supervisors may deny doctor’s appointments or medical leave. Pregnant workers who suspect they are being denied their rights should immediately compile evidence and contact a labor law attorney to explore legal options.
The Los Angeles labor law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers facing pregnancy discrimination hold their employers accountable.