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A woman’s current or past pregnancy would not be allowed to be used as a factor to minimize the extent of an on-the-job injury under a bill introduced in the California State Assembly.
Assembly Bill 570, introduced Tuesday by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, would prohibit the California workers compensation system from considering pregnancy during the apportionment process.
Current California comp law prevents claims from being expressly denied due to gender, age, religion and other factors, but female workers can be compensated less for the same injury sustained by a male employee because of pregnancy and other conditions that primarily affect women, according to a statement posted on Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher’s website on Tuesday.
“There are employers who cross the line by invading the privacy and personal lives of women who work for them, and far too often women are punished financially for becoming pregnant and having children,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said in the statement.
California has considered similar legislation recently. Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher introduced a gender equality bill last year, A.B. 1643, which prohibited the apportionment of permanent disability benefits due to pregnancy, menopause, osteoporosis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. The bill, which came on the heels of a class-action lawsuit in the state that claimed injured female workers were subject to discriminatory apportionment determinations, stirred up concern that it essentially put California employers on the hook financially for non-occupational disabilities. The bill was passed by the state assembly and senate, and enrolled in August.
A bill introduced by Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher in 2015 to prohibit the use of gender-related characteristics in the calculation of permanent disability benefits was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
California's workers compensation system discriminates against female workers by using “gender-based risk factors” to calculate permanent disability benefits, according to a lawsuit.