If I may have to leave my company due tomy pregnancy is that considered “voluntarily” leaving?

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If I may have to leave my company due tomy pregnancy is that considered “voluntarily” leaving?

I signed a job offer that says if I voluntarily leave the company within 2 years I have to repay them all monies paid.I am currently pregnant and am having a difficult time taking time off for appointments, pregnancy related issues and additionally have a kidney disease that puts me at high risk. Even though I have applied for FMLA they give me a hard time everytime I need to take time off. I would have no problem quitting the job but do not see why I should pay them anything back as I am not switching to competition or gaining anything from this. I have been with the company for 1.5 years.

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A contract--like that contained in a signed job offer--is enforceable as per its plain terms. You signed a document saying you would repay them if you voluntarily left--from what you write, the agreement did not require repayment only if you went to a competitor or gained something from leaving. The only issue, from what you write, is whether you left voluntarily--and leaving because you are pregnant would be a voluntary leaving, so long as you are not forced to leave.

You say they give you a hard time over FMLA leave. While nothing says the employer has to be "gracious" about letting you take this leave, they do have to let you take it, and may not retaliate against you for using it. You may wish to consult with an employment attorney to see if the difficulty you encounter rises to the level of being unlawful retaliation for or interference with you taking FMLA leave--if so, that may give you a cause of action.


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