Was just fired from my job — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Was just fired from my job

hi all- I was hoping to get some insight/advice from anyone who might have gone through or knew someone in a similar position. I was just fired from my job last week, at 6 months pregnant. I worked for a very small company and they told me it was due to work performance. I told them I was pregnant mid July at around 4.5 months pregnant. Before that, I had never received negative feedback due to my work - but after I told them, my boss lashed out at me on a couple occasions. I never received a negative performance review or anything in the form of a warning... But She did send me a couple nasty emails regarding my "misunderstanding" of a task, or critizising my work.. But only 2 or 3 times, and for very trivial items. Hardly worth firing anyone over (in my opinion..) but nonetheless I was terminated and offered no severance package. I had a yearly bonus coming up in January that I won't receive either.. I am wondering if it is worth fighting in court or if it's just too difficult to prove discrimination. Thanks for reading and any advice or insight you can provide.

Re: Was just fired from my job

  • That is very interesting...I sorta had the same thing happen to me, except I ended up quitting. I worked in surgery at an animal shelter and was told that I need to stop interrupting people for them to help me move dogs to their kennel after surgery (umm, I was never able to move an 80 pound dog who hasn't woken up from anesthesia by myself, let alone PREGNANT and by myself!!!)

    People suck. If you know any friends or family who are lawyers I'd get their opinion. It's just reallll funny how they started treating you like this after you told them you were pregnant.
    alyshields95
  • First of all, I'm sorry this has happened to you, it really takes some nerve to let a 6 month pregnant woman go. It just seems too completely out of the blue and I agree with PP that if you know of anyone in the law field, it would hurt to look into it. That is ridiculous to me. At least maybe get some sort of severance package out of it, because I wouldn't want to work with that type of business or people anyways. Maybe it can be looked at as a blessing you no longer need to be around practices like that! Good luck!
    catgrazalyshields95
  • I would absolutely go after them for wrongful termination but I'm a union member and we're automatically lawyered up. In your case I would check into your state's unemployment laws and see what happens and if there are any protections for pregnant women. You may be able to put up a good case and at least get a severance package or unemployment (I doubt you would want to work there again considering how they treated you). 
    Proud Mommy to Benjamin
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  • ChrissyD1203ChrissyD1203 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2015
    Can't hurt to get a free consult with a lawyer. I'm sorry that sucks

    Edit - where do you live by the way? I'm a lawyer but I do transactional work so I am completely clueless, but my husband is a litigator and if you are in the NY, NJ or MA area I could send you some recommendations for employment attorneys.
    alyshields95MollyA1011
  • I can understand your situation, not the getting fired part. But since I've been pregnant my boss has been making rude comments. One day I was at work and she posted the schedule and instead of me coming in at 7am she scheduled me for 11am ( normally when she changes hours she's mad about something) I told her I can come in at 7 and she kind of was like " no, you need your rest.. You are tired" and I told her I didn't do anything for her to change my schedule (true story) she scoffs " you got pregnant" laughed and said I'm kidding..

    So I've been feeling a little discriminated against here lately as well.
    Here's to going on maternity leave in less than two months!
    alyshields95
  • I agree that it's definitely worth looking into. I'm a huge hater of discrimination. Also think about their case. How hard will it be for them to prove you deserved to be fired?  Do they have documented proof, like disciplinary action, like someone else suggested. I would def talk to a lawyer or 3 if you ca n get some free initial consultation.  It would be best if you have a friend or a friend of a friend in law, that you could just as a question to so you get some unbiased legal advice on how difficult the case may be to pursue. Also look to see if your state has a way to file a formal discrimination complaint against the company.
    alyshields95
  • If you happen to be in Oregon, I can help you with a lawyer referral. I'm an attorney, but I don't do employment law.

    Just based on the little bit I gather from your post, it definitely sounds worth getting a consultation at least. I don't know whether or not you have a good case, because I don't have enough facts, I don't know the law in your state, and I'm not an employment law attorney, but I wouldn't be surprised if you do.
    alyshields95
  • Ugh so sorry. I lost my job just shy of 5 months pregnant. I have been interviewing for jobs and had an awesome interview with a company and was anticipating an offer to only find out that they decided to go with someone internal. I was shocked, and know it's because I'm pregnant but it's impossible to prove that is the reason they didn't hire me. Im 22 weeks and with the holidays quickly approaching I know a job search is on hold until after the baby which is scary/frustrating/upsetting but I'm trying to learn to enjoy this time for myself...

    I would talk to someone in the legal field and if you can keep those emails and write down EVERYTHING. In the meantime I would reach out to your local state rep to see if they can help you with filing for unemployment.
    alyshields95
  • Thanks for all the input.. It is a really frustrating situation. I live in MA, and will look into getting a consult and seeing what a lawyer thinks, but if anyone has any referrals or suggestions I'm happy to take them. I have also tried to write everything I can think of down.. that was good advice. I did sign up for unemployment as I'm sure it will be nearly impossible to find something permanent right now... If they try to fight me on that I'll have my mind made up for me. Thanks again.
  • I think you have a strong case if there were no meetings/formal warnings, and if you didn't receive any severance. Employers can let people go at pretty much any time if they pay them out. It's usually about a week's pay per year week. You could ask for this, or a portion of this, in exhange for not taking them to court for wrongful termination?
    alyshields95
  • Oh, and I think your case would be wrongful termination and not discrimination. But definitely talk to a lawyer first if you end up going that route.
    alyshields95
  • I don't think you should accept one week of pay for each year that you worked. That would be letting them off the hook way too easy... I sued for:
    *Full pay until the date I told them that I planned to take maternity leave.
    *A portion of my maternity leave
    *Extended healthcare benefits
    *and noted that I had the right to add or amend my claim against them at any time.

    It is very serious to fire a pregnant woman and if they didn't follow proper procedure they are in BIG TROUBLE.
    alyshields95Samiya64yankeeinthesouthmwalles
  • Well you all seem to know way more about employment law than I do, but I believe whether there is a case here depends on what type of employee you are. For example, an "at will" employee (which most of us prob are) means you can be terminated at any time for any reason, barring discrimination of course. My humble, non-lawyer opinion is that ANY prior action that seems disciplinary in nature (the emails) will be used as justification for the termination. That being said, it can't hurt to make some inquiries, right? Good luck. Keep us posted. And I'm so sorry you lost your job.

     

    alyshields95
  • Definitely consult with a couple of employment law attorneys. My best friend works for a large employment law firm but I'm in California. They do many cases on contingency, meaning you only pay if you win and it is an agreed upon percentage of the settlement or judgment amount.
    alyshields95MamaHolland
  • Well you all seem to know way more about employment law than I do, but I believe whether there is a case here depends on what type of employee you are. For example, an "at will" employee (which most of us prob are) means you can be terminated at any time for any reason, barring discrimination of course. My humble, non-lawyer opinion is that ANY prior action that seems disciplinary in nature (the emails) will be used as justification for the termination. That being said, it can't hurt to make some inquiries, right? Good luck. Keep us posted. And I'm so sorry you lost your job.

    An at-will state can fire you for no reason, but not for pregnancy. So the burden would be on the employer to prove that the reason wasn't because of the pregnancy, which means they actually need a different reason.

    I do agree that disciplinary anything will be used, though. Meetings, emails, instant messages and similar can all be considered disciplinary. People can be really oblivious to when they are on thin ice so OP may have been receiving warnings without realizing it.

    mg137essentialpeaceandreachristine81alyshields95
  • Depending on what state you live in and how small the company is there are different rules. You may still qualify for unemployment in the end, but probably nothing else. In CA a company with less than 50 employees doesn't have to hold your position or pay any maternity leave when you leave to have the baby. I personally wouldn't put much energy into it. It probably isn't worth it. Still very sorry your in yhus position though. Hope everything works out :)
    alyshields95
  • claireloSCclaireloSC member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2015
    I'm so sorry this happened to you! I definitely think it would be worth consulting with a lawyer. Let them tell you if you have a case or not. Especially because you have a small employer chances are better they won't be able to defend their actions in court and it may be more worth it for them to settle with you than fight.
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    Ancheta3alyshields95
  • @alyshields95 I live in MA too. Let me know
    If you have any questions. It's such a pain :-(
  • Just be aware, former bosses can get nasty very quickly. My friend worked in Las Vegas and when they fired her her immediate supervisor forged her signature on several warnings. She pushed back and they were fined and she was given unemployment.
  • Definitely file unemployment. Under the reason from leaving select "other" & explain it verbally during your interview with the unemployment investigator. Tell them that you never received any reprimands & that you believe you were fired because you were pregnant & to avoid paying you your bonus which you earned.
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