Doctors’ Notes for Pregnant Employees Can Backfire, Experts Warn

Vaguely worded doctor's notes might lead to problems for pregnant women on the job.
Blog Post (NATIONAL)

Catherine Saint Louis
New York Times (NYT)
July 8, 2015
Full story

Tags: Employment, Workers Rights

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) (San Francisco)


In roughly 70 percent of pregnancy-related cases investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the last decade, a female employee was fired. Doctors’ notes often play a pivotal role in employment conflicts, Dr. Jackson and her colleagues said.

Vague or overarching medical recommendations can exacerbate the problem because some employers seize on them to suggest a woman can’t perform her job and so must be put on unpaid leave midpregnancy.

“Then having exhausted all of her maternity leave, before her baby is even born, she is threatened with job loss or is fired,” said Sharon Terman, the director of the work and family program at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.