If I was fired after having returned for only 12 hours of work following maternity leave, is that legal?

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If I was fired after having returned for only 12 hours of work following maternity leave, is that legal?

After returning to work, I was asked what hours I could work. I told them I could only 8 hours a day instead of the 11 hours I put in before my leave. They agreed to try it out for awhile. My new hours were to be 7 am – 3 pm. Monday I worked 8 am – 3 pm and then on Wednesday (my next scheduled work day) I was only allowed to work 7 am – 12 pm before being let go for scheduling problems. They never tried to move other schedules around nor did they ask if there was any other arrangement we could work out. I was let go after 6 1/2 years working 60+ hours a week. I held a supervisory position.

Asked on December 26, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with an employement law attorney--you may have a cause of action. Sex based discrimination in employment is illegal, which includes discriminating against women on account of pregnancy or childbirth. An employer *is* allowed to terminate a new mother who cannot do her job, such as due to a lack of time or scheduling conflicts; the question is, if that is the stated reason, is there validity to it, or it a pretext for sex-based discrimination. From the facts you describe, the reason given could have been a pretext; it would be worth your while to consult with an employment law attorney about your situation in depth or detail. Good luck.


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