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Grant FMLA leave for pregnancy-related conditions

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in FMLA Guidelines

Many employers think expectant ­mothers can take FMLA leave only for childbirth and baby bonding. They don’t realize that any medical appointments and pregnancy-related illnesses are also eligible for FMLA leave.

Recent case: Retail manager Charity Wierman told her supervisors she was pregnant. On several occasions early in her pregnancy, she took time off for severe back pain, plus had medical appointments that caused her to miss work. She also suffered bouts of vomiting.

She asked for FMLA leave shortly before she was terminated, in part due to tardiness.

She sued, arguing her attendance problems were the result of her pregnancy. The court agreed, pointing out that any pregnancy-related condition—even a transitory one—was fair game for FMLA leave. (Wierman v. Casey’s, No. 10-1665, 8th Cir., 2011)

Note: Wierman’s case was dismissed for reasons unrelated to the FMLA.

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