For many, a pregnancy announcement is a joyous, exciting occasion. But unfortunately, this is not always the case.
One woman complained on Reddit about her work situation after announcing her pregnancy. The original poster (OP) works for a sizeable company where she was promoted twice within five months. Multiple managers have given her accolades for the great job she’s doing and have expressed their gratitude for her excellent work ethic. OP also mentioned that she “just got the yearly merit raise at the highest rate possible due to having the highest reviews out of anyone.”
Announcing Her Pregnancy
At four months of pregnancy, OP went to Human Resources (HR) to discuss maternity leave. At this point, she hasn’t told anyone else at her job about her pregnancy. Soon after, her direct manager, who rarely connects with her, went out of his way to speak with her to say she was doing poorly at her job and that she will be moved to another department with a switch in the schedule. “The [new] schedule will make things much harder for me,” she complains. “I will also be under a lot more stress in this new department.”
“I’ve never heard a single complaint from anyone regarding my work or leadership. In fact, I’ve always had the opposite, and the reviews/raise I got was proof,” she said. “What do I do in this situation? I feel this is very shady.”
Company Does Not Offer Maternity Leave
“I’m not too keen on staying, to be honest,” OP confided. “I’ve been completely taken advantage of and get the lowest pay for someone in my position.”
She added that HR told her that the company doesn’t have maternity leave and that she would have to file for disability if she wanted to take time off after giving birth. OP also said that management is punishing and/or firing pregnant women at their workplace for missing work due to doctor appointments or sickness.
She then moves on to ask for advice on what she should do. Here are the most prevalent advice she was given.
Many agreed that OP should start documenting everything and keeping a paper trail of interactions.
One user said, “Start documenting everything now. Create a notebook and take notes on all interactions and changes to work life. Dates/times you spoke to HR and your manager. What the conversations entailed. Details about your prior performance. If you can obtain copies of your performance reviews, even better.”
She added, “Separately, I would have a conversation with the manager/HR about changes in your job since your performance review indicates you are doing well.”
Consult an Employment Lawyer
Another common advice given to OP was to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. One advice said, “Talk to a lawyer right now. Keep a copy of any paperwork. If you have screenshots or emails of when you informed HR of your pregnancy and when any feedback (positive or negative) came in, keep it. Make sure you send copies of these documents to your non-work email address or save yourself a copy on an external drive you can take home if you legally remove documents.”
The person also added, “You need an employment lawyer (unless you are unionized, in which case you want a labor lawyer and to contact your union). Many employment lawyers work on contingency or offer a free consultation, so you won’t need to pay immediately.”
Another person said OP should send an email summary of any in-person meetings. “If you have an in person meeting with someone (or a casual conversation at work where the person conveys something important (about leave, your work performance, etc.), immediately send them an email summarizing what was covered and asking them to confirm. Bonus if you have someone to cc – like HR if the email is to your boss.”
What would you do in this scenario?