Pregnant Employee Experiencing Miscarriage Can't Leave Work?

Oct 10, 2022

A Louisiana Walgreens did not allow a pregnant employee who was experiencing a miscarriage to leave in the middle of her shift. According to a Complaint filed by the EEOC, this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the miscarriage constitutes a disability to which the employee was entitled a leave of absence. 

Here are the facts:

The pregnant worker had previously disclosed conditions of diabetes and hypoglycemia and began showing signs of miscarriage during her shift. She called her doctor who told her to leave, but Walgreens supervisors told her she needed to find a replacement for her shift. When no replacement was available, the employee claimed she was forced to resign in order to see her doctor.

Employers must consider an employees’ request for a reasonable accommodation for a disability, which includes a request for leave.  A miscarriage may be considered a disability under the ADA, if it substantially limits a major life activity, such as working, eating, caring for yourself. 

In addition to considerations under the ADA, the FMLA gives eligible workers the right to take unpaid leave for their own serious health condition, and miscarriage can be considered a serious health condition under the FMLA. There may be additional protections under state laws. 

Does your management team know how to address this sensitive issue?

Managers can enroll in the ADA Training, where I teach everything employers should know about properly navigating requests for accommodation by employees with medical issues. 

Check out my Free Legal Workshop: 4 Mistakes You Are Making That Lead to Employee Lawsuits -   (Sign up HERE).
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