I Was Laid Off Because I Was Pregnant

fmla-picTime reports that the Supreme Court Justices will decide how the Pregnancy Discrimination Act will be interpreted. I can’t wait to hear the decision, although if favorable to pregnant women, it came a year too late for me.

I told my employer I was pregnant three months after I was hired. Ever superstitious, I wanted to get to the 12 week mark in my pregnancy before I told the world. At the time, I was a consultant for the World Bank’s sister organization. I worked for a loud and uncouth Armenian woman who berated her consultant staff on a daily basis. She literally treated us little more like chattel and found amusement in pitting team members against one another. It was a very toxic environment to begin with.

After I told the Armenian Shrew about the good news, and no more than six months after my hire date, I slowly started hearing new rhetoric about my contract. I was hired on the promise of a year contract plus another year’s renewal. She was singing a new tune, unsure I’d make the full year. My performance was stellar. I even received an award after my six months trial period from my manager at the consulting firm. The Armenian Shrew decided to do me a favor. She was going to keep me on a month after the birth so that I could receive healthcare. What a doll! When I spent a week in the hospital for high blood pressure, I was promptly told I would not be asked back after the New Year of 2014.

“This is business, not personal,” she told me. “I have no more work for you.” This all from a mother of two. My single, child-less coworker got to keep her job which was essentially identical to mine. Armenian Shrew reasoned that while I probably couldn’t work long hours anymore and probably would have scores of newborn doctor’s appointments in my future, I just wasn’t worth my salt to her.

In D.C., unless you work a year for a company, your job is not held upon return. So, if you get pregnant while starting a new job, you can be fucked, fucked, fucked!

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents women from having to chose between work and family. The Family and Medical Leave Act is to prevent women and men from having to return to work for fear of losing their jobs if they want to take maternity leave or medical leave. They both fail for consultants because a contract can usually be terminated at will even if a consultant’s performance is exceptional. That + pregnancy + imminent maternity leave = employers finding ways to work the system.

Although it is nearly impossible to prove contractually, I was laid off for being pregnant.

I need to move to Canada when or if I ever have the next one.

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