Becoming pregnant is an exciting, but often very person and sensitive matter as well.
Understandably, many employees who become pregnant may wonder when they should tell their employers or if they are legally required to do so. The reality for many is that an employer will notice the pregnancy sooner or later, but rest assured there is no legal requirement to inform your employer of your pregnancy as soon as you become aware of it.
That said, there are two very important circumstances under which you will have to disclose your pregnancy to your employer: when you need to request reasonable accommodation and when you need to request maternity leave.
Requesting Reasonable Accommodation
During the course of your pregnancy, it may become apparent that you require reasonable accommodation to perform your job. This can include a parking space closer to the office, more or longer rest breaks, changes to your workstation, and anything else that would help you perform your essential job duties.
Federal and state law protects you against retaliation and harassment for requesting such reasonable accommodation, but you will need to tell your employer about your pregnancy in order to do so. Your employer may even need a note from your doctor to verify your pregnancy and the need for the type of requested accommodation.
Requesting Maternity Leave
At some point before or after childbirth you are likely going to want to take some maternity leave.It’s at this time that many pregnant employees in California request pregnancy-related disability leave and receive up to four months of unpaid leave, typically encompassing childbirth and several weeks or months after. Alternatively, employees can qualify for up to 12 weeks (three months) of pregnancy leave through the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
When requesting either type of leave, however, disclosing your pregnancy to your employer is inevitable.
Although you are not legally obligated to tell your employer anything about your pregnancy, you may have to as a matter of course when requesting accommodation and leave. You do not have to fear doing so, however, because it is illegal under federal and state law to retaliate, harass, or discriminate against a pregnant employee – especially when they request protected leave or accommodation.
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy status, get in touch with our attorneys at Haeggquist & Eck, LLP. We offer a free consultation that you can use to tell us about your situation and learn more about legal options that can help you recover what you deserve.
For more information, connect with us online or by calling (619) 342-8000.