Pregnancy and the Workplace

Whether you have had a baby,  are thinking about having a baby, or simply work with someone who has had a baby, pregnancy in the workplace can be a hot topic.  Just like employees, employers often do not know what they should or can do regarding an employee's pregnancy. This year, TYLA addressed these issues in two written guides: Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Rights(for employees) and Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Duties (for employers).  Both can be found on TYLA's Website. Additionally, TYLA Directors Raymond Baeza, Courtney Barksdale Perez, Baili Rhodes and Shannon White participated in two panel discussions for the 10 Minute Mentor Series.  The panel shared their experiences, and discussed applicable employment law. I encourage each of you to check out this series, and share with your employer clients (and your colleagues). #jointheconversation

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A City Attorney on Life and Lawyering

Before I expound on a few words of wisdom about work, kids, marriage, life in general, let me provide a short introduction. A little context will hopefully help you understand where the thoughts expressed below are coming from. I am a lawyer - no surprise there. I have been a licensed attorney for almost eight years. I started my career at a small plaintiffs firm in Houston, but for the past four years, I have been working in municipal law. I am currently the City Attorney for the City of Temple and have been in this position for a little over a year. If you have ever driven on Interstate 35 from Dallas to Austin or vice versa, you have driven through Temple. It is home to Baylor Scott & White Hospital, McLane Company, and one of the newest Buc-ee's in Texas. It is a rapidly growing city with a…

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I hate Elsa: A Book Review

A good mama-friend of mine recently let me borrow her copy of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein.  Orenstein delves into the girlie-girl culture that seems to permeate girlhood today, and examines it through the eyes of a mother with a preschool daughter.  As the mother of a preschool daughter myself, it was particularly poignant for me.  While the book was very interesting, it did not offer many solutions to keep your daughter from idolizing Disney princesses.  Has anyone read the book?  Thoughts?  Although it lacks practical solutions, it is thought provoking, and I would recommend it to anyone who is parenting a daughter. Amazon: Cinderella Ate my Daughter  

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Babies, Bio-Clocks, and the Billable Hour.

Talk about a phrase that can send this young lawyer into a bit of a panic.  I mean, is there a series of words that is more panic inducing than those for young female lawyers??   Sure, I don’t have kids yet.  But that’s exactly what all the panic is all about. My mommy lawyer friends are well-settled into a life where kids and family are obviously the most important thing, even when work remains an important priority. Life has got to be hard, balancing all of those actual real-life demands. No question.  But what if all those things are still hypothetical…you are just starting a family, or want to, and you’ve got two clocks ticking loudly in the background—the one that says your running out of time!! And the one that says you better bill some time or watch your professional trajectory stall out just when it’s getting good!…

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Mommy Guilt is Real, but We Shouldn’t Feel so Guilty

I find that at times the working mom guilt can be overwhelming.  My son the other day commented how all of his friends at school “get picked up by their mommies.”  He was quick to highlight that “I NEVER pick him up!”  Which of course is not true, but then I didn’t want to start a debate with my five year old on why I work. I loved this article by Gabriel Fischer.  His words were so encouraging to me and the message that my employment has a “long-lasting, positive effect” on my children made me smile.   Anything that helps reduce the mommy guilt is a great read! The guilt many working mothers confess to may be real, but it’s looking less and less warranted."  --Gabriel Fisher

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You Have A Baby. In Your Office. (and other maternity leave ideas)

Paid? Unpaid? 4 weeks? 12 weeks? 6 months? Will you be expected to do some work, or can you really just turn off your cell phone and ignore work email for your entire leave? Maternity leave policies can be as varied as the employers who offer them. No matter what your employer offers, actually taking maternity leave can be a challenge in and of itself. I have just completed my second maternity leave, and while each experience has been different, I hope that I can lend some insight to those of you preparing for leaves of your own.

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Lawyer Forced to Bring Newborn to Court

Interesting article from Above the Law yesterday: A federal judge refused to grant a continuance of an immigration hearing finding that the solo practitioner's maternity leave was not “good cause” sufficient to warrant a continuance. Georgia lawyer Stacy M. Ehrisman-Mickle was forced to attend the hearing with her infant child because Judge J. Dan Pelletier, Sr. refused to approve her motion for a continuance even though she had given birth just a few weeks before. The motion for continuance even included a letter from her physician recommending the leave. The attorney has since filed a formal complaint against the judge, noting not only the failure to grant the continuance but the judge's treatment of her at the hearing. Here’s a brief excerpt from her complaint, which is available in full at Above the Law: I was forced to bring my weeks old daughter with me as day care centers do…

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