What are a pregnant woman’s employment rights?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2012

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What are a pregnant woman’s employment rights?

I have only been with my employer for 1 month and will have been with my employer for almost 10 months when the baby is due. You have to be with my employer for 12 months or more to get FMLA so I won’t be eligible. Is there any law that protects me from losing my job or grants me some maternity leave?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should check your state's law--it's possible that your state offers more generous protections that FMLA. (You could repost your question with your state.) The odds are, though, that it does not--FMLA is the main law about maternity leave, and most state laws that also cover the subject more or less parallel it. As you note, you must have been with your employer for a year; also the employer must be large enough to be covered: there must be at least 50 employees at that employer, within a 75 mile radius.

Anti-discrimination law does prevent you from being fired just because you are pregnant or had a child; however, unless FMLA or some state law covers you and your employer, there is no legal requirement to grant you maternity leave. That means that if you take time off (or more time off than you'd otherwise be allowed--e.g. you can presumably use any sick or vacation days you will have accrued by then), you could be fired for absenteeism and your employer does not need to hold your job for your return.

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