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Mentioning pregnancy during discipline doesn’t prove bias

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Rest easy: You can talk about an employee’s pregnancy while also discussing discipline against her.

As long as you make it clear that you are disciplining the employee because of issues that have nothing to do with her pending childbirth, mentioning pregnancy while discussing potential penalties won’t make you lose a discrimination suit.

Recent case: Megan, a pregnant bank teller, failed to follow two fraud-prevention rules and cashed a forged check for over $2,000. Bank rules called for termination when losses exceeded $1,000. While discussing whether Megan would lose her job, managers mentioned her pending maternity leave. She was terminated.

She sued, alleging that the bank fired her because of pregnancy. But the court disagreed and said merely discussing her pregnancy didn’t imply it was a factor in the decision. (Antonich v. U.S. Bank, No. 140CV-710, DC MN, 2015)

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