Reddit Inspires Pregnant Woman to Fight Back After Being Pressured by HR to Quit Her Job
The expectant mom took to Reddit to ask fellow moms for general advice, but was quickly empowered to seek legal counsel for discrimination.
As if the first trimester isn't tough enough, thanks to symptoms like morning sickness and exhaustion, many expectant moms still fear that sharing their happy news with their employer will result in discrimination or termination. It's not an unfounded fear, as evidenced by a Reddit post from a pregnant woman from Massachussetts, writing under the handle xfrxvk, who explained that she had quit her job after being pressured to do so by her company's HR department. All she wanted was a bit of moral support from other moms, but she ended up getting much more than she bargained for.
Back on July 28, the original poster (OP) shared in the Baby Bumps subreddit, "When I missed my first period, I knew right away I was pregnant. Both tests came out positive. I let my boss and HR know right away, because it's a manufacturing company with a lot of repetitive hard labors. They both told me that I need to leave work to see my doctor, because they don't know what my limits are."
The OP's doctor set her restrictions at 18 pounds, and ever since she shared that info with her employer, they cut her hours "completely, and every day, HR has been encouraging me to quit," she wrote. "They told me to reapply after the pregnancy and that they will rehire me. I would show up to work just for them to send me home. It's been a few weeks, and I just couldn't deal with wasting gas, showing up to work and getting sent home. Or only working a few hours a day and then getting sent home. So, I quit."
She said she knows that applying for new jobs would be difficult, because "nobody is not going to hire a pregnant woman," xfrxvk lamented. "Then, if I do land a job, I heard it's a bad image if you did not disclose the pregnancy beforehand. I don't know what to do and could use some guidances from other mothers out there."
Redditors quickly jumped on the OP's story, pointing out that she was facing blatant discrimination. Wndrwmn8901 wrote, "Definitely look into your rights and contact your labor board. Where I live, it’s illegal to discriminate against a woman who is pregnant which is what they did but cutting your hours, 'encouraging' you to leave, etc."
Another Redditor shared the Massachusetts' Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which "expressly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions and requires employers to accommodate pregnant workers," and encouraged her to talk to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).
- RELATED: How to Spot Pregnancy Discrimination
While the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act covers expectant parents in Massachusetts, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) applies nationwide and is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It "forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment."
Thankfully, the OP was empowered by fellow Redditors' response and shared in a follow-up post on Sunday, August 11 that she had taken concrete action.
"Thank you to everyone who commented on the original post," xfrxvk wrote. "I was only looking for mommy tips/advice, but was blown up about how illegal and discriminatory my situation sounded. ... I thought I was doing a good deed by taking HR's advice and resigned. But now, I am feeling embarrassed that I have let them win since I did what HR told me to do."
She explained that she "filed a complaint with MCAD, and they have started their investigation. I also have spoken with a couple of lawyers who all said what you guys said, and believes that I have a case. Now, it's currently just a waiting game."
The post has wracked up over 500 upvotes and 23 comments from Redditors patting the OP on the back. Aggyface wrote, "Even if you don't get the job back, hopefully you will get some compensation, and show HR that bullshit like this doesn't slide. I'm sure for every one person who raises a stink, 10 don't, but if enough do, it won't be worth them being as shady. So, you're doing your part for yourself ... and for everyone else who might get put in a similar situation—whether it's pregnancy, disability, or any other reason HR can screw someone over."
A Redditor named PartOfIt wrote, "Good for you for getting away from that stressful situation and for standing up for yourself and your child!"
Cheers to this expectant mom blowing the whistle on her employer's unacceptable behavior. Hopefully her move will have a resounding, positive effect for other local pregnant workers while inspiring them to follow in her footsteps and fight for their rights.