California Maternity and Pregnancy laws & HR compliance analysis

California Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on 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)).
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.
“Perceived pregnancy” means being regarded or treated by an employer (or other covered entity) as being pregnant or having a related medical condition.
The law also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to take a leave of absence because of pregnancy or perceived pregnancy when the employee has not requested leave and from retaliating, discharging, harassing, or otherwise discriminating against an applicant or employee because he or she has opposed employment practices forbidden under FEHA or its regulations.
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 ...

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