Can my employer ask the reason why I need to take 12 weeks of maternity leave if my doctor wrote down that I can take 12 weeks of maternity leave?

I am a teacher in CA. According to our contract, teachers do not get maternity leave, instead, it comes out of our sick leave. I tried taking 12 weeks off for maternity leave and my HR Dept. question why it had to be 12 weeks instead of the normal 6-8 weeks. Am I required to provide personal medical information to my HR? Is that a violation of my privacy? In addition, a week after I returned from the hospital, HR called me to provide them with a doctor’s note of my return date. Is that harassment? Am I required to provide a note from doctor while I’m still at home healing from delivery?

Asked on June 25, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Does your employer (most likely yes but check) qualify under FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)? Do you qualify (employed with them for at least one year)?   Under FMLA, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.  Most people take the leave and use their sick and vacation time together and simultaneously so they can paid their typical salary while off. 

If you qualify under FMLA, your employer I believe needs to fill out a portion of it but I don't believe they can simply not allow you to take the full 12 weeks (unpaid or otherwise).  Consult with your teacher's union, or try consulting with a private lawyer at www.attorneypages.comand check his or her disciplinary record at www.calbar.ca.gov under attorney search.


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