Brentwood, TN—Your top-grossing sales associate just announced she’s pregnant. You’re thrilled for her but worried when a quick calculation shows her due date means she’s going out on maternity leave for the entire busy holiday season.
Tread lightly, warns an article in HR Daily Advisor. Changing her responsibilities—even lightening them out of well-intentioned concern—can land you in legal hot water. And of course, don’t even think about demoting or terminating her because of her condition. The EEOC has consistently said that assumptions about a pregnant employee’s abilities—even if done out of benevolent concern—is discrimination, and courts agree.
As for granting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if the business allows other temporarily disabled employees to take time off, the EEOC says it must allow employees temporarily disabled by pregnancy to do the same, says the article.
What about your busy season? Unless the employee in question meets the law’s “key employee” exemption, she (or he, if it's a new father) is likely entitled to parental leave as requested, plus reinstatement at the end of the leave period. But if there’s any chance your business needs will change, read here to see under what very narrow definitions you might deny reinstatement.
Top image: bellaraines.com