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Sacramento Employment Law Blog


6 common fears about working while pregnant

If you’re like most women, you’ve worked hard to get where you are in your career. Each day, you show up on time, give 100 percent, and are loyal to your company. But what happens when you get pregnant? Even the most self-assured women worry how working while pregnant will impact their careers.

In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) established guidelines regarding the treatment of pregnant women in the workplace. Since your concerns are our concerns, we’ve compiled a list of answers to your top questions about working while pregnant, including discrimination, maternity leave, and special accommodations.

Telling the Boss: Do I have to tell my boss?

Not at all. There are no rules stating that you have to share your news with your employer. Many women fear that they will face retaliation or harassment from employers and coworkers, but rest assured, those behaviors are illegal.

Money Matters: Can my pay be reduced?

Absolutely not. As long as you’re still able to perform your duties as designated when you were hired, then you don’t have to worry about a pay cut or a demotion as a result of your pregnancy.

Job Security: Can I be fired or reassigned?

We’ve heard the horror stories about women being let go for reasons supposedly unrelated to their pregnancies. Some employers still do this, but it is illegal to fire a woman just because she is pregnant.

Special Treatment: Does my employer have to accommodate my special needs while pregnant?

Not necessarily. In general, if you do the same type of work as another employee who receives special accommodations, you will be entitled to the same treatment. For example, if you work in a grocery store as a checker and another employee with a medical condition is allowed to alternate between sitting and standing, your employer should offer you the same allowance. It’s to your company’s benefit to ensure that you can perform your job at the optimum level while still protecting your overall well-being.

Time Off: How much time off am I entitled to after I give birth?

The answer depends on the size of the company you work for and the number of employees it has. In most cases, women are entitled to as much as 12 weeks of unpaid time off. You should check with your human resources department to find out what the policy is regarding unpaid leave.

Harassment and Discrimination Rights: What can I do if my employer discriminates against me for being pregnant?

Hopefully, you will never have to deal with this type of situation. Harassment in the work place is illegal for everyone – pregnant women included. However, if you find yourself facing discriminatory behavior, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC updated the PDA guidelines in 2014, and you can visit their website at for more details.

If you have questions about your pregnancy rights or feel you’ve been discriminated against, call 916-245-2219 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.