Q: Can I be fired while I’m pregnant?
A: Under New Hampshire and Federal law, an employer may not fire an employee because she is pregnant or because she is taking (or has taken) taking maternity leave. However, being pregnant does not protect someone for being fired for other legitimate business reasons.
Q: Should I tell my boss that I am pregnant?
A: In New Hampshire, it is not legally required that an employee tell her employer about a pregnancy. However, it may be necessary to disclose a pregnancy in order to receive accommodations for any disabilities related to the pregnancy. For example, a pregnant employee may need time off during the early stages of a pregnancy because of morning sickness. In order to receive this accommodation, the employee must explain why the time off is needed (and in doing so, would likely disclose that she is pregnant). In this way, it can be beneficial to inform your employer of your pregnancy in order to put them on notice that you may require accommodations to your work or schedule.
Q: How much time can I take off from work for maternity leave?
A: There is no set period of time for maternity leave in New Hampshire. An employee is entitled to take leave from work for as long as the leave is medically necessary, so an employer may not require an employee to return from maternity leave before she is healthy enough to do so. The length of maternity leave that an employee is entitled to take can also be affected by the employer’s policies on short term disability leave, as employers must treat a pregnancy the same as other short term disabilities.
Q: Does my employer need to pay me while I am on maternity leave?
A: Again, this depends on the employer’s policy regarding short term disability leave. In New Hampshire, an employer must treat a pregnancy the same as other short term disabilities. So if an employer has a policy that allows a temporarily disabled male worker to be paid while on leave, then the employer must treat a pregnancy employee the same. If an employer does not pay temporarily disabled employees, then the employer does not need to pay an employee while she is on maternity leave.
Q: When I return from maternity leave, am I entitled to the same job that I had before taking leave?
A: Generally, a New Hampshire employer must restore an employee returning from maternity leave to the same or a similar position that she had before taking the leave. However, this is not required if it is unreasonable or impossible for the employer to return the employee to her previous position.
Author Dan Hakansson
For additional information about pregnancy discrimination, the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights is an excellent resource. If you believe that you have been a victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact the employment law attorneys at Welts, White & Fontaine by calling (603) 883-0797 or using the form at the foot of this page. Welts, White & Fontaine is Nashua’s largest law firm and serves the legal needs of both individuals and businesses in towns such as Amherst, Milford, Hudson, Brookline, Windham, Hollis, Merrimack, Litchfield, Bedford, Londonderry, Pelham, and of course Nashua.
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.