You and your spouse have been trying for a baby for a while. Finally, after what feels like an eternity, you see those two little lines that you’ve been waiting for. This dream quickly turns into a nightmare, however.
When you tell your boss about your pregnancy they start to act a little differently towards you. Almost cross because you can’t perform the same tasks that you did before you became pregnant. Eventually, the time comes for you to go on maternity leave and within a few weeks of it you’re told that you no longer have a job.
Being fired while pregnant is sadly not an uncommon scenario for women everywhere. Keep reading to find out what you should do if it happens to you.
1. Can You Be Fired While on Maternity Leave
There is a little grey area when it comes to being fired while on maternity leave. There are some cases where it’s perfectly legal and some cases where it’s very illegal.
When is it Legal
For you to be fired while you’re on maternity leave and it to be legal, it has to have nothing to do with your pregnancy. For example, if your department does a mass layoff then you probably would have been fired regardless. This is legal because it’s a simple business decision.
If your employer finds out that you make a fireable mistake before you went on leave then again, they’re able to fire you.
When is it Illegal
In some cases, employers fire pregnant employees who go on maternity leave because they’re worried about how they will perform their jobs when they get back. This is seen as retaliation for taking maternity leave which is 100% illegal. Again, they can only fire you if it has nothing to do with your pregnancy or else it’s discrimination.
2. Redundancy or Sham Redundancy
Sometimes an employer will fire you because your position won’t exist when you get back. This is a genuine redundancy and it’s legal in most cases if the employer takes one important measure first.
This measure is that they have to tell you while you’re still on leave that changes are taking place within your department which will affect your pay and job. They can’t tell you the day that you go back that you no longer are employed.
Sometimes the redundancy isn’t so legit. This is if your employer hires your temporary replacement to take your job long term or if they make you redundant and then hire someone else into position. Keep in mind that these sham redundancies are very hard to prove so you’ll have to stay in the know if you want to get justice for it.
3. Stay in the Know
If you want to prove that you’re being discriminated against for your pregnancy there are a few things that you need to do before you go on leave and even while you’re on it. You should also go ahead and prepare for the possibility of being fired while on leave by taking the steps towards further employment.
What to Do Before You Go On Leave
Before you go on leave you need to email any information on personal contacts that you made while you worked your job and all performance reviews that were given to you. Make sure that you also write down anything that is said to you before you go on leave. For example, if your boss starts to get a little snippy the moment you bring up maternity leave, this is something an attorney could use.
Your days will blur together from day to day so you need to be constantly updating your resume while you’re still at work. This way it’s ready to go out to new potential employers if you are fired.
What to Do While You Are On Leave
While you’re on leave you need to stay connected to your co-workers so you can keep up with company news. This way if your boss tells you that your job will no longer be available when you get back, you’ll know if this is true or not.
Again, to prepare yourself for being let go. While you’re sitting at home get on social media and start networking a little with professionals in your field.
You can also get to know other soon to be mothers in your area. This way you can call in a favor for childcare if you need to go on job interviews. Just be sure to offer the same to them.
4. What to Do if You’re Fired
If you feel like you’ve been unjustly fired the only thing that you can do is get in touch with an attorney. An employee discrimination attorney to be more specific.
They’ll be able to look at all the facts to determine if you have a case or not. This is why it’s so important that you write down every conversation you have with your boss before and after you go on leave.
What You Should Do If You’re Fired While Pregnant
Being fired while pregnant can be unnecessarily stressful for the mother. It’s also seen at retaliation which is completely illegal depending on the situation. Use these tips for dealing with such discrimination and get the compensation that you deserve.
All the pressure that you’ve been under trying to find a new job after being fired can do a lot of harm on your baby’s brain. So, if your baby was born with some kind of injury, you’ll want to keep reading to see if your stress may have been the cause.