Fired for Taking Maternity Leave! Could It Happen to You?

This week the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of a woman's former employer, saying it was within its rights to fire her for taking maternity leave. Tiffany McFee got the pink slip from Pataskala Oaks Care Center after taking time off to have a baby and, in turn, she filed a gender-discrimination claim against the company. The court made its decision based on the Center's policy that employees must be with the company for a year before they're permitted to take medical leave. McFee had worked there for only eight months.

The United States Department of Labor's Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), entitles employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child, but it, too, has the stipilation that they must have worked for the company for at least 12 months to be eligible. (Also worth noting: The FMLA does not apply to companies with fewer than 50 employees. So if you work for a very small business, this could happen to you, regardless of how long you've been on the payroll.)

I understand why these rules are in place -- so people don't abuse the system by jumping from job to job, having been "on leave" longer than they've actually worked. But this is unpaid leave. Can't a company find a temp to fill in instead of going to the extreme of firing the employee? And shouldn't companies sometimes make exceptions to the rules? To me, those seem like more compassionate management choices.

Do you think employers should be able to fire a woman for taking maternity leave? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- Telling Your Boss You're Pregnant: 5 Things You Need to Know
- Back to Work After Baby: 12 Things to Know Before You Go

- 'Desperate Housewives:' Does Pregnancy Kill Your Career?

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