When you need special accommodations at your California workplace because you are pregnant or experiencing some type of pregnancy-related medical issue or condition, your employer must make those accommodations for you if they are reasonable in nature. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that employers who maintain staffs of 15 or more must abide its terms. Among the ways it protects you as a pregnant woman is by treating your pregnancy the same way it would a disability.
Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pregnancy alone is not a disability. However, many medical issues relating to pregnancy may require you to limit how you work and move your body. For this reason, the ADA views pregnancy and most pregnancy-related conditions in the same manner it would traditional disabilities.
Understanding “reasonable accommodations”
A reasonable accommodation is something you ask your employer to do to make it easier for you to continue to work despite your condition. For example, you may ask to pivot toward lighter duties, such as those that are less physical in nature. As long as your request is reasonable, your employer must accommodate you or risk facing sanctions.
Understanding “undue hardships”
Part of determining whether a requested accommodation is reasonable involves figuring out if the accommodation would result in “undue hardship” for your employer. Essentially, “undue hardship” means the requested accommodation would do one of two things. It would either cost your employer too much money or require an unreasonable amount of effort on his or her part.
Often, pregnancy discrimination cases arise over disagreements between employees and employers over what requested accommodations are and are not “reasonable.”