California Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of sex, which includes discrimination based on pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including lactation (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12940(a)). A “perceived pregnancy” means being regarded or treated by an employer (or other covered entity) as being pregnant or having a related medical condition. The general rule is that employers are required to treat employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work equally, whether they are pregnant or not.
Covered employers. The Act covers private employers with five or more employees in any 20 consecutive calendar weeks in the current calendar year or preceding calendar year, regardless of whether the employee’s worksite is located within or outside of California.
Employees located outside of California are counted in determining employer coverage; however, the employees located out of state are not protected by the Act if the wrongful conduct did not occur in California and it was not ratified by decision makers or participants located in California.
Employees on paid or unpaid leave, including California Family Rights Act (CFRA) leave, leave of absence, disciplinary suspension, or other leave, are counted for the purpose of determining employer coverage.
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Title VII compared. The Act sometimes distinguishes between employers covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (employers with 15 or more employees) and employers covered only by California law (between 5 and 14 employees). Smaller employers, not covered by Title VII, have less restrictive requirements in several areas, including ...

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