Answers From Your Dallas Employment Attorney About Your Rights to Maternity and Disability Leave
Maternity leave and disability leave are important issues for any employee. Federal law gives employees certain rights regarding maternity and disability leave. While most employees do not have the right to extensive amounts of fully paid maternity or disability leave, many employees do have certain rights to take at least some amount of unpaid leave under these circumstances. If your employer has denied you the right to take maternity or disability leave, or if you have received unfair treatment from your employer due to taking leave, you may have a legal claim against your employer. For more information about your rights to maternity and disability leave, you need to consult with a Dallas employment lawyer from Atkerson Law. Contact us today for knowledgeable advice about your employment law situation.
Maternity Leave and Employee Rights
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a federal antidiscrimination law that confers some rights on employees regarding maternity leave, in that it outlaws employment discrimination based on gender. While Title VII does not require that an employer allow an employee any type of maternity leave or create job protections for maternity leave, it does require that an employer treat an employee who has taken maternity leave the same as any employee who has taken leave for another type o f medical condition. In other words, an employer must treat a pregnant employee who needs to take maternity leave in the same manner as he or she would treat an employee who needs to take medical leave. If, for instance, an employee is entitled to take two weeks of paid leave for a medical condition such as a broken bone, any other employee is entitled to take two weeks of paid leave during and/or following pregnancy. In each of these situations, the employer’s policy on leave time governs the ability of the employee to return to his or her current job position after taking leave. Furthermore, Title VII also contains the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from basing any employment decisions on an employee’s pregnancy. Rather, an employer must treat an employee who is pregnant or who has given birth the same as any other employee.
Disability Leave and Employee Rights
As is the case with maternity leave, an employer’s policies control the rights of an employee with respect to taking disability leave. Employer policies for employees who need to take leave due to a medical condition vary widely from one employer to another. While some employers may provide paid medical leave and even short-term disability benefits, other employers provide no disability or medical leave at all. However, federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prevent an employer from discriminating based on disability. As a result of these disability discrimination acts, an employer must equally treat an employee or prospective employee with a disability or chronic medical condition and an employee or prospective employee without a disability or chronic medical condition. The ADA also requires that covered employers, or those employers who employ 15 or more employees for 20 weeks or more per year, provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.
Another federal law known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with certain rights to both pregnancy and medical leave. Under the FMLA, covered employers must provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain reasons, including pregnancy, childbirth and serious medical conditions. While not all employers are subject to the FMLA, and employers are free to provide employees with additional benefits beyond what the FMLA requires, the FMLA does provide many employees with at least some time off for pregnancy, childbirth and medical conditions, while still ensuring that they can return to their previous job positions without fear of repercussions.
Only a qualified, experienced Dallas employment attorney can assist you with your questions about maternity leave, disability leave and related employment law issues. Contact Atkerson Law today for the answers to all your legal questions.
Atkerson Law provides experienced legal counsel to clients in Dallas, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Grapevine, Southlake, Lewisville, Carrollton, Coppell and Fort Worth.