3606803_sAn employee suffering from postpartum depression who was employed as a human resources coordinator at Midcontinent Independent Transmission System Operator, which operates the power grid for much of the Midwest, was fired after her request for leave as an accommodation was denied.

The EEOC filed suit in federal court Indiana, contending that  postpartum depression is a disability covered by the ADA.  It alleged that the employee notified the company of her condition and sought leave, which is available under company policy.  The company denied her request and fired her — leading to a settlement payout of $90,500.

Employers:  If your company policy provides for leave of absence, you are courting problems when you deny an employee such leave.  Perhaps Midcontinent Independent argued that the employee was not qualified for disability leave and/or that postpartum depression is not a disabling condition.  If so, that contention was a gamble that cost the company dearly.