Ruling against the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a nursing home’s policy of requiring one year of service before providingdid not violate state law.
The case involved Tiffany McFee, who worked for Pataskala Oaks, a nursing home owned by Cincinnati-based Nursing Careof America. McFee developed complications early in her pregnancy. Her doctor restricted her from working and she requested maternity leave.
Pataskala Oaks’ policy provided 12 weeks of maternity leave for employees who had been employed at least one year. McFee hadn’t been on staff for a year when she requested the leave. When McFee took time off anyway, Pataskala Oaks terminated her for excessive absences.
She filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission, alleging the nursing home discriminated against her because of her pregnancy. The Civil Rights Commission agreed and filed suit against Pataskala Oaks.
The case made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled that the policy was facially neutral and therefore not discriminatory as long as it was applied to all employees equally.
Final note: Consult your attorney before adopting a similar policy. This case was decided under state law. Federal courts may see things differently.