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Pregnancy question

Discussion in 'Medical Leave & Disability' started by Redhawk87, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Redhawk87

    Redhawk87 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    North Carolina
    My wife is 4-5 weeks pregnant and just accepted a new job. This will be her first pregnancy. She did not tell them she is pregnant and doesn’t plan on telling people till 13 weeks. Her start date is the start of her 13th week. She says this company doesn’t have more than 50 employees and thought that companies are exempt from FMLA if you have less that 50 employees. Looking at their benefits, they do have “full maternity leave”, but not sure what that entails. My wife is just a little nervous not telling them and is worried how they will react when she tells them the news because she feels like she is hiding it from them. She did not know she was pregnant when she was interviewing with them. She wants to know from a legal standpoint what the laws were in North Carolina related to pregnancy and the workplace. Can she get fired after coming back from maternity leave? She had already made it very clear to them that she is in this job for the long road. She says that NC is an ‘at will’ state meaning you can fire someone for any reason. I do not know the laws that well, so just going off what her concerns are.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    99% of states follow the at will principle of employment.
    The 1 that doesn't doesn't really matter.
    Slavery has been outlawed over 235 years.
    She could be fired.
    She might not be fired.
    She could die.
    She could live.
    You could inherit $500,000,000 from a cousin you didn't know existed.
    Life has but one guarantee, you'll die one day.
    If she's worried about a job she won't start for eight weeks, maybe she shouldn't take the job.
    Sometimes the RIGHT choice is to DECLINE an offer.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

    An employment offer with a start date TWO MONTHS away could be rescinded, and often is.

    An offer of employment isn't an employment contract.
     
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  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Even if the company were large enough for FMLA, she wouldn't qualify because one of the requirements is that you have to have been with the company for a total of 12 months. So FMLA is a non-starter on multiple accounts.

    49 out of 50 states are employment at will states, meaning that you can quit for any reason and you can be fired for any reason that does not violate the law. NC is not the 50th state.

    However, it is illegal to fire someone because they are pregnant (although being pregnant does not make you bulletproof). That is Federal law and applies in all states.

    What is the maternity leave policy?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  4. Redhawk87

    Redhawk87 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My wife’s current company requires a 30 day notice and we have some already scheduled vacations planned right after that 30 days, so 2 months out actually works for us. But, to your point, 2 months is a long way off. That is something to think about
     
  5. Redhawk87

    Redhawk87 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am not sure what the policy is. We did get a link to her benefits page, but all it says is “full maternity benefits” under the short-term disability section.
     
  6. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Well, let's put it this way. Since it is illegal to fire someone for being pregnant, the employer will have to have VERY strong proof of a fireable offense, or VERY strong proof that her position not only has been eliminated but would have been chosen for elimination regardless, before they can fire her without fear of legal action.

    However, as I mentioned above, being pregnant does not mean she is bulletproof. She can be fired for any reason a non-pregnant employee can be fired for. Her pregnancy has to be taken completely off the table; she cannot be discriminated on account of it, but neither does it entitle her to special privileges. If she violates the attendance policy, she can be fired. If she breaks a policy or rule, she can be fired. If there is a downsizing and the employer has a valid last-in-first-out policy and she is the last in, she can be downsized. But she cannot be fired BECAUSE she is pregnant.

    NC is one of the better states when it comes to requiring employers to follow their policy, so once she starts and has access to the full policy, we'll be in a better position to assess.
     

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