Helping Patients Deal with Pregnancy-Related Limitations | Mann & Elias
Skip links

Helping Patients Deal with Pregnancy-Related Limitations


The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act were enacted to support the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. If a woman’s pregnancy starts to interfere with her work, she may be able to get workplace adjustments. These adjustments are intended to keep her health safe while she remains working.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Known informally as the PDA, this specific act works to protect the rights of pregnant employees. This law specifically forbids any sort of discrimination based on a person being pregnant. This includes actions of discrimination like firing, job assignments, layoffs, and so forth.

The Americans With Disabilities Act

Known as the ADA, this is a catch-all law for workplace discrimination. It specifically prohibits the discrimination of any employee that has a disability. Similar to the PDA, this includes actions like public accommodations, communications, firing, hiring, and so forth.

It’s important to note that only businesses with 15 or more employees must provide work accommodations. Different rules apply to businesses with 14 or fewer employees. When it comes to making workplace accommodations, there are a number of things that an employer can do to ensure the safety of a pregnant worker. These include:

  • Ergonomic Office Furniture
  • Permission To Work From Home
  • Altered Break / Work Schedule
  • Shift Changes
  • Elimination Of Marginal Job Duties

When it comes to deciding whether or not an employer has to make accommodations, there are two main factors to consider. The first is whether or not another employee with similar limitations was given workplace accommodations. The second is whether or not the pregnancy-related condition meets the ADA’s definition of a disability.

The ADA defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that limits a person in one or more major life activities. As you can read, the definition by the ADA is fairly broad and is interpreted in different ways by different people. While your employment attorney in Los Angeles can give you a definitive answer of whether or not your condition meets ADA standards in a court of law, here are some common examples that do:

  • Sciatica
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Cervical Insufficiency
  • Anemia

Many of these conditions are not permanent or severe. However, they can be classified as substantially limiting according to any Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer. An employer must provide workplace accommodations for these conditions without reducing pay unless there is a significant difficulty or expense involved. 

Can You Get Light Duty Work?

Your attorney for pregnancy discrimination in the workplace will first look to see if there are any feasible workplace accommodations that can be instituted. The idea is to first identify accommodations that could allow an employee to work their regular job.

In the event that this is not possible, an employee can be temporarily reassigned to a new light duty job. When this happens, the temporary role may come with a reduced pay amount. It’s a good idea to consult your Los Angeles workplace attorney before you agree to a light duty temporary reassignment.

Can You Get Fired For Being Pregnant In California?

All this discussion about taking light duty jobs and asking for workplace accommodations may have you pondering the question,” can you get legally fired for being pregnant? “. The short answer to this question is that no employer is permitted by law to fire a woman because she is pregnant.

Sometimes Documentation Is Required

If you ask for workplace accommodations, leave, or light duty temporary reassignment, your employer may ask for documentation. This type of documentation typically includes:

  • Patient’s Condition: A simple statement of the patient’s pregnancy-related medical condition.
  • Professional Qualifications Of The Treating Physician:This will include relevant information about the treating physician, including their qualifications and length of relationship with the patient.
  • Patient’s Functional Limitations:In this section, specific instances are notated for how the medical condition limits the patient’s ability. Some examples would be bending, lifting, or concentrating.
  • Reasons Why There Is A Need For Accommodations: This section explains how a patient’s medical condition is specifically limiting their ability to perform their workplace tasks and why specific accommodations are recommended.
  • Suggested Accommodations: This last section states any suggested accommodations a treating physician may recommend for their patient. Not all documentation will require that the physician suggest these accommodations.

Once an employer is given this documentation, they will decide if they’re required under the ADA or PDA to comply. It’s very common for employers to contact treating physicians to get specific questions answered regarding medical conditions and the needed accommodations.

When it comes to medical information, there are a lot of legal obligations on the part of the treating physician and the employer. An employer does have the right to request the appropriate documentation listed above. However, they should only be provided this information upon the patient signing a medical release form. All employers are required by law to keep all the information released confidential.

Employer Discrimination

Unfortunately, workplace discrimination does happen to pregnant women. It’s an employer’s job to not discriminate or harass an employee because she is pregnant and has a pregnancy-related medical condition. Any sort of retaliation on the part of an employer is strictly prohibited by law. If you’ve been discriminated against, you should contact a pregnancy discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles right away.

What Happens If A Patient Can’t Work At All?

Sometimes medical conditions related to pregnancy can keep women from returning to work at all. Not all patients have paid leave available to them. In this instance, the patient may still be entitled to unpaid leave accommodations. A workplace pregnancy discrimination attorney will be able to better determine what sort of options, such as the Family And Medical Leave Act, are available for a patient.


    This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.
    Call| Text |