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‘I’m pregnant’ + poor review = likely employee lawsuit

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in Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

When a formerly high-rated em­­ployee suddenly finds herself on the receiving end of a poor evaluation, she’s likely to look for a reason—such as her recent announcement that she is expecting a baby. If she’s then terminated, a lawsuit will probably follow.

Recent case: Elvimar worked for the Fashion Institute of Technology as a nontenured instructor. She got good reviews for her work until a few weeks after she announced she was pregnant. Then she was suddenly fired.

She sued, alleging pregnancy discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

The college argued it had planned to terminate Elvimar before the an­nounce­­ment—but couldn’t explain the earlier reviews. The judge said a jury should decide whether it was pregnancy discrimination or declining performance that led to her discharge. (Colon, et al., v. FIT, et al., No. 12-CV-7405, SD NY, 2013)

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