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Pregnancy, leave, accommodations and work

post-partum depression employment laws pregnancy discrimination

Tom Spiggle, author of “You’re Pregnant? You’re Fired: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace” and an employment lawyer in Virginia and Tennessee does a nice job reviewing two recent cases on postpartum depression under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in which individuals alleged wrongful termination. He summarizes his takeaways as follows:

The lesson of these two cases is that postpartum depression can be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so employers need to be prepared to provide reasonable accommodations when requested. However, just because an employee suffers from postpartum depression does not mean she is immune from lawful termination. Still, in those situations an employer needs to proceed with extreme caution and strong evidence that the disability was not the factor driving the termination decision.

As Tom focuses on the federal ADA, what is not covered in the article and very well could apply to a Massachusetts employer are the Massachusetts counterpart to the ADA and the Federal civil rights employment discrimination laws, as well as the Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave Law and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

These issues can be very complicated and as usual in employment matters are heavily fact-intensive. If you have questions around workplace laws relating to pregnancy, maternity leave or paternity leave, or accommodations, contact me for an employment law consultation to talk through your particular situation.

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