Regularly remind bosses that they should never comment on an employee’s pregnancy, pregnancy-related problems or the desire to have children. Only two responses are appropriate: Congratulate the employee when things go well and offer condolences when they do not.
Anything else may be interpreted as discrimination based on pregnancy.
Recent case: Loredana worked for a small button and zipper manufacturer and had to take some time off following a miscarriage. She returned to work and got pregnant again within a few months. She finally told her supervisors after she thought the danger of another miscarriage had passed.
About a month later, she was called into a meeting and informed that she was being discharged due to financial problems. One of the supervisors also told her that this was a good thing and that now she could go home and enjoy her pregnancy. Instead, she became upset and was hospitalized. When discharged, she learned her insurance coverage had been terminated despite promises to keep it in effect.
She sued, alleging she had been fired because she was pregnant.
As evidence, she pointed out that the letter terminating her appeared to have been written the day she announced her pregnancy. She also pointed out that her supervisor had addressed her pregnancy during the termination meeting. That was enough for the court to order a trial. (Ingenito v. Riri USA, No. 11-CV-2569, ED NY, 2013)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Watch out! Firing employee who needs maternity leave may be sex discrimination
- Don't base hiring decisions on applicants' childbirth plans
- U.S. Supreme Court: 4 key employment cases could reshape HR
- Don't extend disciplinary periods due to FMLA or military absences