What to do abouttermination regarding a pregnancy?

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What to do abouttermination regarding a pregnancy?

I have been with a company for 6 months; I did not tell them I was pregnant when they hired me. I am due to deliver in about 2 weeks and have advised them of such. The company wanted me to tell them how long I would be off; my doctor advised 6 weeks. My company is saying they have to terminate my job and I have to reapply and they want me to sign a letter stating I am aware I have to be terminated. This does not sound right to me but I want to cooperate because I want to keep my part-time job with them. Should I sign the letter? If I do and they don’t hire me back, will that letter keep me from collecting unemployment?

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, as a general matter, an employer is not obligated to hold a job for someone if they voluntarily leave work or stop working, even for pregnancy, child birth, etc. If you stop coming to work, you could be deemed to have resigned; or your failure to show up could be considered grounds for termination for cause (absenteeism). Either would preclude unemployment.

If you were eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act leave (FMLA leave), you could use that to take up 12 weeks of unpaid leave while preserving your job. However, I believe you need to have worked with this employer for 12 months before taking such leave, which does not appear to be the case; also, unless the employer has at least 50 employees, it would not be covered by FMLA leave.

Before signing the letter or doing anything, you  should consult with an employment law attorney, to see what  your options are. Note that some states have their own leave laws, which might help  you more than FMLA--this is something to discuss with your lawyer.


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