It is more common for pregnant women in California and beyond to work outside the home than in generations past. The federal government has dealt with workplace discrimination against pregnancy since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The original act did not include pregnant women in its list of protected individuals, and for almost 15 years women struggled to convince Congress to amend the law. Finally, in 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was enacted to protect women from losing their positions simply because they were expecting.
However, because the law did not require accommodations for conditions women face when pregnant, many were still penalized for missing work due to doctor visits, morning sickness and recovery after delivery. Thirty years after the PDA was passed, the Americans with Disabilities Act went a little further by including pregnancy-related conditions in its definition of disabilities. While this amendment made conditions like anemia, preeclampsia and depression more acceptable as conditions needing accommodations, any woman who experienced a normal pregnancy free from those complications could not always expect reasonable accommodations.