Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot be sued for money damages for failing to give an employee time off to recover from an illness under the Family and Medical Leave Act.The case was brought before the Court by Daniel Coleman who sued the state of Maryland for damages, contending he was fired after he asked for 10 days’ sick leave to deal with a documented illness. What makes this ruling relevant to this blog is Justice Ruth Ginsberg dissent. She had been fired from a job years ago when she was pregnant.
Ginsburg noted that the FMLA was enacted to end discrimination against women in the workplace by protecting them from losing their jobs because of pregnancy or childbirth. Congress, she said, sought to prevent sexual stereotyping by making family and illness-related leave available to men and women on an equal basis.
Ginsburg said that Congress determined “the best way to protect women against losing their jobs because of pregnancy or childbirth … was not to order leaves for women only, for that would deter employers from hiring them. Instead, Congress adopted leave policies from which all could benefit.”