What are my rights to leave after the birth of my child?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights to leave after the birth of my child?

About 4 months ago I was put on leave by my MD at 32 weeks pregnant due to the inability to perform my job duties as an ICU nurse. My employer does not let you do “light duty” so they put you on STD. If I was given a choice, I would have worked. I delivered my son 2 months later. Now, at 8 weeks after, my boss has told me that I should be back at work but I have not been released by my physician. I discussed with her and the HR liaison that I was still undergoing treatment for postpartum depression and had not been released to work but anticipated being released at 12 weeks post partum (in about 3 months). My boss told me she was OK with that but no longer. Is that against the ADA?

Asked on November 26, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The ADA does not protect you if you cannot or will not return to work, because the employer's obligation is to make only a "reasonable accomodation"--but a reasonable accomodation is one that let's the employee do his or her job. Allowing you to not come into work for weeks while having to hold your job is not considered reasonable, so you may be terminated if you do not return to work. Look into whether, under the circumstances of your employment, yiu are eligible for FMLA leave or similar leave under a state program; if so, using such leave may preserve your job whike letting you take additional time.

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