Can someone get fired after returning back maternity leave?

A co-worker of mine went on maternity leave. A couple months later, it was uncovered that she stole $900 worth of merchandise from the employer; there was hard evidence. Can she get fired the day that she gets back from leave?

Asked on July 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Maternity leave really isn't the issue here. This employee stole from your employer and there is evidence of this. Accordingly, whether or not she was on leave had nothing to do with her termination. In fact, in an "at will"work arrangment, a company can set the terms and conditions of work much as it sees fit. This includes when and why to termiate an employee. In fact an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. The above holds true unless a union agreement or employment contract provides otherwise.


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