Do You Have To Tell Your Employer About Your Pregnancy? What Happens If You Do?
If you are pregnant in California, you have some of the best protections under federal and California laws against discrimination in the country. The most important one for California residents is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Even with these protections, you still may have concerns and questions about how your pregnancy will impact on your job and your career. Knowing your rights can help you pursue your career goals while planning for the birth of your baby.
Do You Have to Tell Your Employer About Your Pregnancy?
You do not have to tell your employer about your pregnancy. Under the FEHA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on sex. Sex discrimination is defined to include pregnancy discrimination. If your employer employs five or more employees, you are covered under the Act and are not required to disclose your pregnancy.
However, there is a practical aspect to this answer too. In certain times during your pregnancy, you may need to assert your rights under California and federal laws. To do so, you will need to tell your employer about your pregnancy. For example, you may need to notify your employer in these situations:
- Pregnancy disability leave. California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) gives employees who work for employers with five or more employees up to four months of disability leave due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. This can include the need for time off due to morning sickness, doctor-recommended bed rest, pregnancy-induced hypertension, or other complications associated with the pregnancy.
- Pregnancy accommodation. If you are disabled due to your pregnancy, you have a right to request an accommodation to enable you to continue to perform your work duties. For example, you may need modified work duties so your job is not so strenuous, or you may require longer or more frequent breaks. A leave of absence is also a reasonable accommodation in some circumstances.
- California Family Leave Act (CFLA). The federal Family Medical Leave Act and the CFLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for many health situations, including a disability associated with a pregnancy or childbirth, or for parental bonding after your child is born.
In any of these situations, you would need to notify your employer of your pregnancy and what you require in order to take advantage of these important rights. Your notice can be oral, but you always want to follow this up with written confirmation of the notice you gave and keep a copy of this document for your records.
Do You Have to Tell Your Prospective Employer of Your Pregnancy?
No. As with disclosing your pregnancy to your current employer, you have no duty to discuss your condition in an employment interview or in any conversation with a prospective employer. Practically speaking, it is best not to raise the topic at this time. While it would be illegal for an employer not to hire you due to your pregnancy, these cases are extremely difficult to prove. It might be better to wait to tell your employer at a later date when your pregnancy affects your ability to work or your ability to get to work on time.
Can Your Employer Stop You From Working Due to Your Pregnancy?
Your employer cannot force you to stop working and take Pregnancy Disability Leave. If you chose to continue working, you can request an accommodation instead. For example, if your doctor recommends that you work fewer than 40 hours at your job and you can do your essential duties from home, you can ask to work from home one day of the week as a reasonable accommodation. This would allow you to save your PDL for after your baby is born. Your employer is required to grant reasonable accommodation requests even if it allows you to telework instead of take PDL.
Do You Have Other Pregnancy Rights Questions?
Do you have other questions regarding your rights at your job related to your pregnancy? Call the Law Offices of Corbett Williams today at 949-679-9909 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to have your questions answered.