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Can your employer dictate when you take medical leave?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | Pregnancy Discrimination

If you are expecting to welcome a new baby into your family, you may worry about how your pregnancy and the months after it may affect your career. Fortunately, federal and state laws likely protect your job during your pregnancy-related medical leave.

As you may suspect, employers are not always happy with employees who need time away from work to recover from morning sickness, attend medical appointments or care for a new baby. Still, your employer cannot dictate when you take your medical leave.

Failing to approve your medical leave

Employers may believe they can step on the medical leave of employees and not face any consequences. They may also simply misunderstand employee rights. Either way, if your employer fails to approve your qualifying medical leave, you may have grounds for a discrimination charge.

Requiring you to work during your medical leave

With the advancements in telecommuting technologies in recent years, many employers have blurred the line between work and free time. Still, your employer should not require you to work during your medical leave. Short conversations with you about work-related matters are probably acceptable under the law, however.

Penalizing you for your medical leave

If you have a big project or major deadline on the horizon, your medical leave may be inconvenient to your employer. This is not your problem, though. If your employer takes adverse employment action against you for taking qualifying medical leave, you may be the victim of unlawful retaliation.

Retaliation may be clear, such as termination of employment, or subtle, like denial of training opportunities. Consequently, if you suspect your employer is violating your right to medical leave, you may want to carefully document your employer’s actions.

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