Pregnancy Discrimination

Section 12945 of the Government Code ( FEHA) states that it shall be unlawful employment practices, unless "based upon a bona fide occupational qualification" for an employer to refuse to allow a female employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions to take leave for a reasonable period not more than four months and then return to work, or to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth if requested. It is generally held that a woman must be unable to perform one or more essential functions of her job without undue risk to herself or successful completion of her pregnancy, or to other persons to be considered "disabled." Medical opinion of the employer’s doctor or her health-care provider will determine whether she is "disabled" by pregnancy or a related medical condition. It is important to note that the leave discussed here can be taken before or after birth or at any period of time the woman is physically unable to work because of the pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. Periods of leave may be totaled in computing the four months required.

Following are a few examples of what conduct can be considered to trigger anti-discrimination laws:
  • Hiring
    Failure to hire a qualified applicant because of his/her sex or sexual orientation.
  • Firing
    Terminating or firing an employee because of his/her sex or sexual orientation (i.e. gay, transgender, bisexual.)
  • Promotion
    Failure to promote the employee due to her or his sex or sexual orientation.
  • Job Classification/Pay
    Paying employee less or not giving them higher positions due to their sex or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.