Question: I own a small business in California with 3 employees.  My main office in Nevada has 6 employees.  I heard that there is a new poster describing the rights and obligations of pregnant employees in California. Do I have to post this poster in my workplace?
Answer: The Fair Employment and Housing Council (“FEHC”), the agency that issues regulations to implement California’s employment anti-discrimination laws, recently created a new pregnancy disability leave (“PDL”) poster describing the rights and obligations of pregnant employees. Employers who are covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) are required to post this poster on or before April 1, 2106. Under the new FEHC regulations, which will also go into effect April 1, 2016, your business will meet the expanded definition of the term “covered employer,” and you will need to post the poster even though you only have 3 employees in California.  This poster is available online at http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Publications_Publications.htm.
Under the FEHC regulations, the term “covered employer” is defined as “any person or individual engaged in any business or enterprise regularly employing five or more individuals.”  Under the new regulations, the term has been expanded to make it clear that employees located outside of California are also counted for purposes of determining whether an employer meets the five-employee threshold.  Therefore, even though you only employ 3 employees in California, you are required to comply with the FEHA, the new FEHC regulations and PDL posting requirements.
Under the new FEHC regulations, all covered employers must post the same PDL poster on or before April 1, 2016. The poster describes the rights and obligations of pregnant employees and contains information about how to contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) to file a complaint.  This is a change from the old regulations which provided two separate PDL posters, one for employers with fewer than 50 employees who were not subject to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), and another poster for employers with 50 or more employees.
In terms of content, the PDL poster remains largely unchanged.  The poster informs employees that California law protects employees against discrimination or harassment because of pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical condition. It states that employees disabled by pregnancy must be provided with PDL of up to 4 months (the working days the employee would normally work in one-third of a year, or 17-1/3 weeks), and the employer must return the employee to the same job or, in certain instances, to a comparable job when she is no longer disabled by her pregnancy.
The poster must be located in a conspicuous place where employees will view it in the workplace, and it must be large enough to be easily read.  The poster must also be translated into every language spoken by at least 10% of the employer’s workforce, and employers are required to give an employee a copy of the poster as soon as practicable after the employee tells the employer of her pregnancy.
In addition to this new posting requirement, the new FEHC regulations also include new substantive policy requirements, as well as new requirements for conducting discrimination and harassment training. All “covered employers” should familiarize themselves with these new regulations and make any necessary policy changes as soon as practicable.