Employees in Texas should not be mistreated due to a pregnancy. Some employers are also required to provide employees with maternity and paternity leave for the birth or adoption of a child. These types of leave are taken by new mothers or expectant mothers, or new or expectant fathers. At Rob Wiley, P.C., our Dallas employment lawyers fight for employees who have not been given maternity or paternity leave to which they are entitled, or who have faced discrimination or retaliation for taking leave.Maternity and Paternity Leave
Texas does not have its own state laws mandating that employers provide maternity and paternity leave. Instead, employees need to rely on the federal laws that may apply. When it applies, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees of covered employers with the right to use up to 12 weeks of maternity or paternity leave for the birth or placement of a child, among other reasons. Employers that have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius, whether they are part-time or full-time, for a minimum of 20 weeks in the year need to provide the 12 weeks of maternity or paternity leave. The FMLA leave can start before the child is born, but it cannot last more than 12 weeks.
Sometimes parents can use accrued vacation or sick days to get pay while on leave. This leave need not be continuous. It can be intermittent and can even involve leaving early or working part-time. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against you for taking maternity or paternity leave under the FMLA. An employer is also not supposed to retaliate against you because you participated in an EEOC lawsuit, hearing, or investigation connected to maternity or paternity leave or pregnancy discrimination.
Your FMLA leave is protected. In other words, you should be able to go back to the same job or an equivalent job with the same benefits and pay after the maternity or paternity leave.Employment Contracts
Some Texas companies provide comprehensive maternity leave plans, and these plans may be part of your employment contract. If your employer does not provide leave that it has promised to provide, or if it retaliates against you for taking leave that was allowed by your employment contract, you may have a basis to hire an attorney to bring an action for damages. Moreover, you should not be treated differently than another employee is treated with regard to the same contract-mandated maternity or paternity leave.Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) also may protect you in the workplace and have an impact on your maternity or paternity leave. The PDA prohibits discrimination against an employee due to pregnancy, and it is intended to stop adverse employment actions such as terminating, not promoting, or not paying someone equally due to pregnancy. Your employer should not deny you a promotion or other benefit because you have taken a paternity or maternity leave, whether this was under your company’s private maternity leave plan or under the FMLA.
Additionally, you should not be treated differently for taking a maternity or paternity leave than other employees who have taken leave due to temporary disabilities.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if your employer has at least 15 employees for 20 weeks or more in the year and you have a disability that meets the ADA definition, your employer should provide reasonable accommodations. If you are disabled by a pregnancy-related medical condition or by giving birth, you may be able to ask for a reasonable accommodation in the form of an unpaid leave.Discuss a Leave Issue with an Experienced Dallas Attorney
Welcoming a newborn into the world is a joyous occasion, but it can be clouded by the stresses and strains of figuring out childcare in conjunction with a job. If you are concerned about maternity or paternity leave, or retaliation for taking leave to which you are entitled, you should discuss your situation with a knowledgeable lawyer. Rob Wiley, P.C. represents people in Dallas and in other cities in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Ellis Counties. Call us at (214) 528-6500 or contact us via our online form.