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Apply good judgment to legal considerations

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

Q. An employee left work on a Monday due to an illness. She called in sick Tuesday and Wednesday, but we heard nothing on Thursday or Friday. Our policy calls for termination if the employee doesn't contact us within three days. We posted her job on Friday and decided to terminate her. On Monday, her fiancé called to tell us she was pregnant and had complications that led to a hospital visit. We got a note from her OB-GYN saying she'd been seen, but not indicating when she could return. What should we do to avoid any legal fall out? K.A., New York

A. We could respond by reciting legal rules under the FMLA, ADA and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But this is a case where good business judgment should trump legalities. Indeed, this situation screams for you to make an exception to your three-day no-call/no-show policy.

Bottom line: You need to take a step back sometimes and ask yourself how your employment decisions would be viewed by a jury and by the rest of your work force. That should make this an easy call.

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