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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.