Your employer does not want to be accused of wrongful termination for firing you for something that breaches employment laws. Therefore, they tell you that you need to quit or take an unpaid leave. Is that still illegal?
It may feel fairly obvious to you that it is, and you’d be right. That’s essentially the same as firing you and can still violate your rights as an employee. However, it is a tactic that some companies try to use to get around these laws.
For instance, in one case this year, a woman who was pregnant was told by her doctor that she needed to have some restrictions at work. They were very basic things, such as not lifting anything that was too heavy for her.
Employers cannot fire people just for becoming pregnant. However, the company she worked for — Walmart — apparently did not like the restrictions. The woman claims that she was called a liability and told to “apply for a formal unpaid leave of absence to avoid losing her job in the long run.”
The woman was reportedly told that because of her pregnancy, she couldn’t work and wouldn’t be paid. She says she was also told that she may never get her job back at all if she did not accept that.
As an employee, you need to be aware that companies may try tactics like this to take illegal action against you. You may feel like you have no choice, but you do. You have rights. You need to know what legal steps to take to protect yourself in the face of wrongful termination and discrimination.