New Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Enhances Protections for California Employees

pregnant workers fairness act california

CALIFORNIA (April 23, 2024)California’s workforce is set to benefit from the newly enforced Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which mandates extensive accommodations for pregnant employees, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

 

As of June 27, 2023, the act required employers with at least 15 workers to provide reasonable adjustments for employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions.

 

The EEOC’s latest guidelines, effective this June, clarify that these accommodations include unpaid leave for prenatal appointments, abortion, and postpartum conditions, and the flexibility to modify work schedules to manage symptoms like morning sickness. Employers must now demonstrate significant hardship to deny such accommodations, shifting the burden away from employees to justify their requests.

 

The inclusion of abortion as a condition necessitating job protection has sparked debate, aligning with the EEOC’s broader interpretation of reproductive health under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This decision has met opposition from conservative lawmakers, reflecting ongoing national conflicts over reproductive rights.

 

Despite legal challenges, including a notable injunction against the act’s enforcement for Texas state employees, the law remains in effect for federal and private sector workers in California. Advocacy groups such as A Better Balance report positive impacts for low-wage workers who previously met resistance when requesting workplace accommodations.

Employers are advised to review their policies and ensure compliance with the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act California guidelines to avoid legal complications and foster a supportive workplace for pregnant employees. The success of the act will hinge on robust enforcement and widespread awareness among workers about their enhanced rights.

RTM Law Firm’s employment attorneys in California are available to assist employees who feel they have been discriminated against based on pregnancy or related medical conditions. We have helped numerous clients obtain justice and compensation for pregnancy-related discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Call our anti-discrimination lawyers today for a free consultation.

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