No doubt you understand that pregnant employees are entitled to takefor to deal with pregnancy-related matters, give birth and recover. But do you know you must make sure that any pregnancy-related absences are treated the same way as other illness recoveries after the employee has used her ?
Simply put, if you provide additional leave or special arrangements for someone recovering from a heart attack or broken leg, you must provide them for the pregnant employee, too. Otherwise, you may be violating the(PDA).
Recent case: Angela Williams worked as the HR director for a chain of family-owned liquor stores. When she became pregnant, she told the owners that she intended to useleave as needed.
Soon, she developed high blood pressure as a complication and her doctors suggested she work from home rather than commute one hour each way as she had been doing. She asked the owners, who said they would draft up an agreement. The agreement was never completed and Williams went out on FMLA leave. She was then terminated after FMLA leave expired and she gave birth.
Williams sued, alleging that other employees were allowed extra time to recover by working from home or by using other leave and vacation time.
The court said the different treatment could be discrimination and ordered a trial. (Williams v. Crown Liquors, No. 8:10-CV-02232, MD FL, 2012)
- U.S. Supreme Court: 4 key employment cases could reshape HR
- 'Anti-Mom' comments can trigger messy discrimination lawsuits
- OK to terminate pregnant employee sometimes; the PDA merely requires equal treatment
- Don't grant 'FMLA leave' if you're not covered
- Block firing-Bias charge by documenting business reason