The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act is designed to protect expecting mothers from discrimination in workplaces in California and around the country. However, it can be hard for you to protect your rights if you don’t know what they are.

Your rights under the PDA

The PDA prohibits most employers from using the fact that you are pregnant against you during a job interview. They are also barred from terminating your employment simply because you are pregnant or demanding that you take a leave of absence. A company is not allowed to make you pay a higher deductible on a health care plan simply for being pregnant.

Employers must treat you like any other worker

It is possible that you will experience health issues that may make it difficult to perform a task. Companies must treat those who are expecting children the same as they would anyone else who has a short-term disability. If you take a leave of absence while pregnant or after giving birth, an employer must hold your position for as long as it would for any other worker.

Retaliation is against the law

Despite the presence of the PDA, there is a chance that an employer will attempt to engage in discriminatory activities. It is important to note that employers are not allowed to retaliate against you for making a discrimination claim. In other words, they are not allowed to fire, demote or otherwise harass you simply for exercising your legal rights. Workplace discrimination claims must be sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the act in question.

If you believe that your rights have been violated by an employer, it may be worthwhile to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your case. If the matter cannot be resolved internally, the next step might be the filing of a claim with the EEOC or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.