SB-523, The Contraceptive Equity Act, extends the protection of women in California and those women visiting California. It is known as the Contraceptive Equality Act of 2022, and it brings protection to working women across California.
Contraceptive Equity Act and Employment Law
In 2022 many changes occurred in California Labor Law that added protection for female workers regarding their reproductive health.
- Making it illegal for employers to discriminate against women who choose to have a child or get an abortion.
- SB-523 makes it a requirement that employment-based health plans include certain types of birth control, including over-the-counter options. This change goes into effect in 2024 and forces insurance plans to cover certain contraception devices, medications, and products without cost sharing.
- It also adds reproductive health and decision-making to the list of employee civil rights.
Many of these changes piggyback on to other recent updates to reproductive health on a national level as well as changes to laws in other states.
In addition to making reproductive health legally protected under Employment Law in California, SB 523 also makes discrimination rooted in reproductive health a crime.
The Bigger Picture
California is one of the most progressive states when it comes to protecting employees from employers. SB-523 makes reproductive health decisions a new category under those rights protected by a person’s civil rights. That means that along with age, race, gender, etc., employers will be punished under the law for violations of a person’s civil rights.
The changes provided under SB-523 make it easier for women and potentially men to manage their reproductive health by making it less expensive to obtain quality FDA-approved over-the-counter contraception products (including medication and devices) through an employer-based insurance package. This is also the case for plans that are not employer-based.
Further, it sets up a system that provides protection and privacy to women who come to California and receive reproductive services. Those protections relieve healthcare professionals from the burden of providing medical information to federal and out-of-state legal authorities that would use that information to punish women who’ve come to California for abortion services.
SB-523 helps to create a safe place for women who want to be in charge of their reproductive situations. It outlines the fact that reproductive decision-making is no longer a concern for employers who want to influence the reproductive health and decision-making of female employees.
What Can You Do If Discriminated Against at Work?
Your best bet is to reach out to a qualified employment lawyer who has experience working in the complex California labor environment. Your goal should be to understand your situation as it applies to the California Labor Code and to discover your legal rights and options based on your unique situation.
Davtyan Law Firm focuses on helping employees to defend their rights and stop discrimination by employers. Reach out to our team at (818) 275-5799 for more information about your situation.