I was recently several weeks pregnant and due to complications was out on FMLA. I advised HR and supervisors because it was a requirement of my absence. When I returned to work after a miscarriage, one of the team leads approached me to tell me congrats on my pregnancy. I was mortified and felt like everyone in office knew. I ended up being out again on FMLA for a few weeks due to anxiety of going to work and depression. Also upon return was suspended for 2 days for our in office attendance policy. There were 2 days I called in after the start of my normal shift but also have proof of days I called in on my normal days off. I was mentally in a very bad place but all my time off was FMLA approved. I just want to know what my rights are as far as privacy and also if disciplinary action for not calling in before the start of my shift is grounds for the suspension I received.
Rita Risser replies:
When your supervisor told one or more of your colleagues that you were pregnant, she may have violated several laws, including HIPAA and the FMLA, and possibly state law, which require employees’ medical information to be kept confidential. On the suspension, it is not clear what happened. If you were on FMLA leave, why were you required to call in every day? That’s not normal practice of most employers for FMLA leave. But the employer is allowed to have an attendance policy and enforce it equally against someone on FMLA leave, as long as everyone else is treated the same. If other employees are not suspended in these situations, you should check with the EEOC on that.
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