I am 20 weeks pregnant and was fired for missing 2 weeks from work due to being in the hospital twice in that2 week period, is that legal?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2012

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I am 20 weeks pregnant and was fired for missing 2 weeks from work due to being in the hospital twice in that2 week period, is that legal?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Employees can be fired for missing work without either authorization from the employer or the use of some form of paid time off (PTO), like sick days, to cover the time.

Employeres are not generally required to provide employees with either sick days or approval to take unpaid time off for medical reasons. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does allow employees to take unpaid time for either birth and newborn care, or for significant health issues/medical care; therefore, if you and your employer are both covered by FMLA leave, the employer may have been required to provide you unpaid time off for your hospitalization.

An employer is only covered if it has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. An employee is covered only if she has worked there more-or-less full time for a around a year.

If you think you and your employer may have both qualified under FMLA, you should discuss the sitution and your rights in more detail with an employment law attorney.

However, if you or your employer would not be covered under FMLA leave, you did not have and use paid time off for those two weeks, and the employer did not otherwise authorize your absence, they would most likely be able to fire you.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

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