Can I sue my old job for not hiring me back after maternity leave?

I went on maternity leave 7 months ago and my General Manager assured me I would be hired back when I was able to return. I returned for my job hoping to be put on the work schedule the next week, but she said she could not hire m back due to no room for extra employee. In that meantime, she has hired more than 10 people in the restuarant and not allowed me to return.

Asked on August 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not sue your job for failing to hire you  back. As a general matter, employers are not required to provide maternity leave--if an employee leaves for childbirth or childcare, the employer may terminate them, not hire them back, etc. That was changed to some extent by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and similar state laws, but those laws only provide 3 or so months of protected leave; there is no protection for a woman to take 7 months leave and then get her job back. The employer has a business to run; it may hire other people in the meantime, and does not have to hold a job open indefinitely.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not sue your job for failing to hire you  back. As a general matter, employers are not required to provide maternity leave--if an employee leaves for childbirth or childcare, the employer may terminate them, not hire them back, etc. That was changed to some extent by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and similar state laws, but those laws only provide 3 or so months of protected leave; there is no protection for a woman to take 7 months leave and then get her job back. The employer has a business to run; it may hire other people in the meantime, and does not have to hold a job open indefinitely.


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