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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111603
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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My wife was pressured into returning to work before her

Customer Question

My wife was pressured into returning to work before her three months after having our first child this past summer. Our child was born on June 2,2015 and she returned to work part time in early August. This employer has just terminated her position In mid January. Could we speak with someone to clarify whether or not any laws protecting new mothers were violated. Also it was clarified that she would need to pay out of pocket for our daughters new health insurance plan. Thank you
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I made a typo in my question at the end of last statement. I meant to say "It was not clarified that we would need to pay out of pocket for our daughters new insurance policy back in August." My wife was blamed for mistakes she did not make after returning to work a month early. Her employer had a bitter attitude not only because she completed a masters degree in May 2015 but also because she was pregnant and gave birth in early June.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
An employer cannot force an employee to return from FMLA protected leave before their 12 weeks of protection are up. If your wife did return she could possibly file a complaint of harassment under FMLA, but she has to prove they threatened, harassed or intimidated her to return. Also, if she can prove the reason she was terminated was for using the FMLA, then that would be a separate claim for retaliation. However, because this happened back in August and she did agree to return to work and never filed a complaint at that time she is going to need to produce evidence to the US Department of Labor regarding the employer harassing her to return contrary to FMLA. Other than the harassment or retaliation though, it is not going to be any violation for an employer to simply ask an employee to return without threats or intimidation and the employee agreeing to do so.
So your wife needs to file a complaint for FMLA harassment and retaliation with the US Department of Labor and also the EEOC and they have to investigate.
As far as the insurance issue, the insurance is the employee's duty to check with the employer regarding adding the new child to the coverage and receiving the information from the employer upon the employee's request.