Can I terminate an employee who is on maternity leave?

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Can I terminate an employee who is on maternity leave?

I have an employee that has been on maternity leave since the first of May. In her absence we have found the following mistakes in her job. The books have not been balanced dating back to the 1st of the year, leaving us with no idea how much money we have in the bank and having to rely only on the bank statement. Also, several jobs have not been billed as they should have resulting in lost earnings. She was close to being terminated prior to the pregnancy as she does not do her job up to our standards and has been informed of this on numerous occasions. I understand that a person cannot be terminated due to pregnancy, however the

pregnancy is not the reason we would be terminating her.

Asked on June 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

So long as this employeee is being discharged for a reason other than being pregnant, then her termination is legal. Poor performance is always a valid reason for firing a worker. That having been said, just make sure that this action does not violate the terms fo any employment contract or union agreement that she may have.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, you can terminate her even though she is on leave since you would be terminating her for a non-leave, non-pregnancy reason; being pregnant or out on leave does not protect an employee from termination due to documented and provable poor performance. The key is to make sure it is well documented, should she try to challenge her termination (e.g. allege it is retaliation for her using leave, or discrimination against her for being pregnant).


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