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Kyte Baby Denies Remote Work While Actual Baby is in the NICU

January 22, 2024 | Employment Law

In October, Kyte Baby employee Melissa Hughes informed her employer of her decision to adopt and then waited for the call. After heartbreaking miscarriages, IVF and nearly dying during surgery for a miscarriage that failed to progress, she received the call about the baby they could adopt. He was in a NICU in El Paso, nine hours away. Born at 22 weeks, weighing about a pound, baby Judah will likely remain in the NICU through March and into April. 

Kyte Baby has a two-week paid leave policy for both biological and adopting parents.

Melissa requested to do her job remotely from the NICU so she could remain close to Judah. Kyte Baby denied that request. Melissa’s position was an in house position, Kyte Baby didn’t consider whether it could be performed remotely. 

While pregnancy, recovery from childbirth, and bonding during the adoption process are not disabilities, state and federal employment laws have clearly outlined the path to reasonable accommodations. Kyte Baby’s CEO, Ying Liu, acknowledged, “[H]aving a little bit of sensitivity and understanding would have accommodated her, and I did not accommodate her.”

California Family Rights Act (CFRA) leave when combined with federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with job protection and wage replacement. For information about job-protected leave when bonding with a new child, visit Leave for Pregnancy Disability and Child Bonding: Quick Reference Guide

Liu says the job at Kyte Baby will be there for her when she returns but Melissa has declined the offer.

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