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Can you be Fired for Asking for Maternity Leave?

Recently a contractor in Washington D.C. made headlines when she asked for maternity leave and was fired shortly after.

Ariel Cetrone was a government contractor, one who worked 40-hour weeks onsite, and had a government email, cell phone and business cards. Yet, since she was classified as a contractor, she received none of the benefits that her coworkers did.

After reading about the misclassification of Uber employees, she began to think that it was possible that her contract wasn't legal, that maybe, under the law, she was actually an employee-an employee who was due benefits like paid maternity leave. But when she asked about it, Cetrone was let go.

A spokesman for the Commission on Arts and Humanities said the termination had nothing to do with the job classification, but was due to a funding error. However, an employment attorney who reviewed the contract and spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity said Cetrone's contract did contain job duties normally reserved for employees.

So how do you know if your contract is legal?

If you are a contractor, you should be allowed to work for anyone you choose, your hours are not limited to certain shifts or places, and you provide your own equipment, training and tools. Your employer can't limit any of these freedoms without having to classify you as an employee.

If that doesn't sound like your job and you are classified as a contractor, you need to have an employment attorney look over your employment agreement. You should always carefully read any kind of employment contract carefully and make sure you understand all the conditions before signing.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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