Can I be fired (without notification) while on maternity leave?

I had my son 8/24/12, I was not due until 9/15/12. I had sent in all required FMLA paperwork, even had my Mother fax it to ensure it was there a monthy ahead of due date. While I was off I recieve a letter from my companies FMLA Coordinator that I did not qualify for FMLA, as I was about 50hrs short of the 1,250 hours mark. It went on to inform me that I could only take three weeks off. If I took longer than three weeks my position would be terminated, however if I came back within 90 days I would keep my current seniority. This letter was written the last day of the third week, and I recieved it in the middle of my fourth week off. I tried calling FMLA Coordinator multiple times, leaving voicemail each time, and never got a response. I then called the DM who informed me I could reapply for my job, but it was at their discretion if I was re-hired. I applied, and of course was not re-hired. So I then filed for Unemployment Compensation. The company first claimed that as of 8/19/12 I was medically unable to perform my duties, however I worked 8/19/12, 8/21/12, and 8/22/12. I was off on 8/23/12 and had my child 8/24/12. They then claimed that I was discharged on 8/22/12, no reason for termination was given and I was never notified that I was terminated. I also visited my place of employment the first week in September and my Manager told me how he couldn't wait for me to come bac from leave. Why if I had been terminated would he be telling me this? Lastly, they claimed that I quit on 9/20/12 for personal reasons. This too was false, I never quit my job and furthermore I never spoke to anyone at my place of employment on that day. Every reason they gave was false! I was also advised by a friend that I was legally allowed six weeks in Ohio, even if not covered by FMLA, therefore they violated law by telling me I could only take three. It irritates me the most that two other employees took six weeks off for their maternity, neither had been there a year or had 1,250hrs. Yet they came back to work with no issues. I think I was really let go for complaining about major issues such as retaliatory write-ups and members of management discussing my medical issues with other employees. I was just wondering if I have a wrongful termination case and what I should do.

2 answers  |  asked Nov 30, 2012 9:53 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (2)

Bruce Elfvin
While FMLA requirements are clear, very few employers keep track in the same way, so I would also look at whether or not your termination violates the FMLA. I would encourage you to file a charge with the EEOC, you can do this by mail or over the phone. You should also try to think of anyone at the job, who had a non-work related absence during the past.

I concur that you need to see an employment lawyer near you. You can find one at

posted by Bruce Elfvin  |  Dec 2, 2012 09:39 AM [EST]
Neil Klingshirn
Ohio law requires an employer to provide maternity leave, but it does not specify the amount of leave. Most of us believe that, as a general rule, six weeks of maternity leave is reasonable under this law. Therefore, you may have a claim under Ohio law. You need to consult with an experienced employment lawyer to examine the specific facts of your case, though.

You also have an opportunity to appeal your unemployment compensation claim to a hearing officer to determine when you were released and why, and whether the reason for your separation qualifies you for unemployment compensation benefits or not. In your case, you may qualify, but again, you need to consult with an experienced employment lawyer to determine that. You can find qualified employment lawyers in the directory on this site, and at

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Dec 2, 2012 09:20 AM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?

Contact Neil Klingshirn

Neil Klingshirn
AV rated Super Lawyer and Employment Law Specialist
Independence, OH
Phone: 216-382-2500