Or as the Slate.com DoubleX blog puts it: Yes, You Can Get Fired After Taking Maternity Leave: The confusing state of family-leave policies.
Sandy Stephens got pregnant when she was working in housekeeping for a company known as Global NAPs Inc. in Massachusetts. Her supervisor at the small telecommunications firm had told her that she could take unpaid maternity leave longer than eight weeks if she gave birth by cesarean section. Stephens did wind up having a C-section, and so she stayed home for 11 weeks. Yet, when she returned to her job, she found she had been fired.
It’s the kind of “misunderstanding” that takes place all the time. The postpartum deal is struck, the baby comes, and then—whoops!—human resources has no record of the agreement. The story often ends up with a confused, angry, and suddenly unemployed new mother quietly accepting her fate. In this case, though, Stephens decided to sue; and last week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court handed her a decision that is a depressing, if not surprising, reminder of the sorry state of parental-leave policy in this country.