Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher Proposes Pregnancy Protections for Gender Fairness at Work

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

AB 568, AB 569, & AB 570 Would Add Strong New Legal Protection for Women in the Workplace

SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, February 14, 2017) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced a trio of bills Tuesday to protect working women who become pregnant, a natural part of a woman’s life that has too often become a barrier to gender equality in the workplace.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher’s  legislation prohibits employers from discriminating against women for their reproductive health choices, ensures equity in workers compensation for pregnant women, and provides pregnancy leave for school employees in California rather than require they use sick days or vacation.

“Men don’t get pregnant. They can’t get pregnant. As a result, many of our laws treat pregnancy and a woman’s reproductive decisions like something other than a natural part of her life,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said . “It’s hard to be pregnant in the workplace today, it’s hard to be a mother, but it’s for some reason all too easy for employers to cross the line into a woman’s personal life. We need to correct that imbalance if we are serious about gender equity in the workplace.”

The package of legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher addresses three specific challenges women have reported in the work place.

The first measure, AB 568,  would require provide paid leave to teachers and school employees who become pregnant by requiring school districts to create a category of pregnancy leave and making it available to a pregnant employee, rather than requiring she use all of her accumulated sick leave and vacation time as family leave. It is sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers.

The second measure, AB 569, known as the Reproductive Health Non Discrimination Act, would combat the growing invasion of women’s privacy by making it illegal for employers to fire women for her reproductive health choices. Even recently, women have reported being terminated or discriminated against by their employers for conceiving a child through fertility treatments, becoming pregnant without being married, or for simply using birth control. The bill is sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California.

The third measure, AB 570, would prohibit California’s workers compensation system from allowing a woman’s current or past pregnancy to be used as a factor in minimizing the extent a worker’s injury was caused on the job. While current workers’ compensation law prohibits claims from being expressly denied because of an employee’s gender, age, religion or several other characteristics, female workers can be compensated less for the same injury than a male worker because conditions that only or predominately affect women, such as pregnancy, can be held against them during the apportionment process. The bill is sponsored by the California Association of Applicant Attorneys.

“There are employers who cross the line by invading the privacy and personal lives of the women who work for them, and far too often women are punished financially for becoming pregnant and having children. It’s unacceptable,” said Gonzalez Fletcher.  “A woman should never face repercussions in the workplace for her reproductive choices.”

The three measures were introduced on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. They will be eligible for consideration next month.                                                                                                                                                                                   

For more information on Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher’s legislative package, or to schedule an interview, contact John Vigna at (916) 319-2080 or (916) 212-0357.