The excitement that comes with pregnancy is overwhelming and you immediately want to share the news with people around you. This is the time ideas on how to plan your new life begin. All you see is how beautiful and welcoming your newly repainted baby room will look like. But shock on you! Your boss is not as excited to hear this news, and implies that you chose the wrong time to have a baby.
The hormones notwithstanding, your boss gets on the offensive and reacts in a very unexpected and unacceptable manner. You think small-time gossip from fellow colleagues who think you are procreating faster than rats are the worst reactions to deal with? Wait till you read about bad employer reactions that have driven women crazy, to a point of regretting their moments between the sheets that led to creation of new life.
1. Firing Expectant Women
Imagine a letter of termination indicating that your services are no longer needed because your husband scored during one of your nookie sessions. Wait, no, the dismissal letter will not read exactly that way. Your employer will try to be philosophical about it, wittily pre-empting and evading any lawsuit against him.
The moment you inform your employer that you are pregnant or your stomach gives undeniable evidence of this, you will be suddenly labelled lazy and a poor performer. This is odd, because by all indications, you are actually a hardworking human being! You got busy and now you are expecting.
Jokes aside, this can be a very devastating and harrowing experience especially because a new baby means new needs. Therefore, the importance of securing and offering expectant women financial capability can never be overemphasized.
2. Advising Pregnant Women to Get an Abortion
What is your life like after work hours? You sure need to go back to a loving family and this means raising children. Is your boss fair when he thinks your pregnancy is an inconvenience to the company? Some employers have been callous enough to advise expectant employees to abort, yet they enjoy great evenings with their children after work.
Teri Cumlin, a 22-year old woman working for a charity organization is a good example. She was publicly embarrassed by her manager, Mark Robertson. Mark shouted at her for getting pregnant and shamelessly advised her to have an abortion.
3. Uttering Inappropriate Comments
Are you pregnant again? I can refer you to a good hospital where your husband can get a vasectomy. This is just one of the many demeaning comments women have received from their employers for getting pregnant.
A UK study on working pregnant women revealed that one in five women experienced negative comments from their employers during their pregnancy or after returning from maternity leave.
4. Changing Attitude
If the town’s mad man walked into your office and introduced himself as your newest colleague, you would question his ability to work. While this is understandable, treating a pregnant woman in such a manner is unacceptable. Pregnancy is not a disease; neither does it affect one’s productivity, cognitive ability or mental sharpness at work.
Women have been advised to get a baby at 25 if they want high power jobs and senior positions. This is mainly because by age 30, most people reach the peak of their careers and the jobs become demanding. At this age, women with great potential have involuntarily lost their ambitions after their bosses told them to choose between their pregnancy or their jobs. Others have been openly told that pregnancy, family and senior roles do not work well for women.
The need to satisfactorily provide for your child should drive your employer to support your ambitions. After all, who does he expect to benefit from the company’s family health insurance cover for example? How do you as an employer expect to have a vibrant labor force in the next fifty years when you do not support procreation?
5. Torturing Them Psychologically
You will surely get confused when your employer asserts that you are a bad employee and a bad mother for trying to work while raising a family. Realistically, you are balancing the two to give your children the life they deserve and securing your future. Who is expected to take care of you when you are old and incapacitated? Your children, right?
Rita, a victim of this type of discrimination, was seen as unserious when she returned to work. People perceived her as weak. It was as though her pregnancy stripped off her ability to work. In another case, a line manager allowed a woman to return to work after maternity leave but for only two days a week. According to the manager, two days were in fact too much and he’d only allowed the woman to work as a favor for a mother-of-two. These two women had jobs but essentially, these jobs were inexistent.
6. Reducing Salaries And Bonuses
Anycia Grady, a clinical social worker, faced possible salary reduction in 2013 after getting pregnant. Worried that maternal stress in the early months of her pregnancy could result to low birth weight and negatively affect fetal brain development, she asked her employer for accommodation closer to her work place to limit her stress levels and exhaustion. To her surprise, this would cost her the salary, at a time when she needed it the most. Just like other women, Anycia had to choose between risking her baby’s health and maintaining a substantial income.
By law, an employer is prohibited to reduce your salary due to pregnancy. In the event that this happens, prepare to smile all the way to the bank in case you win an equal pay claim.
7. Demoting Them
Employers seem to be so allergic to pregnant women that they’d do anything to demoralize them and force them to voluntarily quit. One such way is demoting them. Really, what is the relationship between a fetus and lower job positions? Well, your boss could conveniently argue himself out and say that a lower level will offer less stressful work, fewer hours and flexibility. But what does this do to your esteem?
When Darlena Cunha returned from her maternity leave, her employer kindly and apologetically manipulated her into a junior position. Apparently, the man who was placed in the position during her leave seemed to be a better fit. Could it be that the employers feared another pregnancy?
Citing research conducted by sociologist Shelley Correl, Darlena pointed out that motherhood results in biased assessments of both commitment and competence to a job. This is an extremely wrong perception on young mothers and expectant women. Currently, men are as involved as women in child upbringing. Why do you think the government has provisions for paternity leave? As a matter of fact, a good employer should promote an expectant woman and increase her salary to ensure that she has the financial capability to afford a competent nanny. What do you think?
The United States constitution for example, is very clear on pregnant employee discrimination, strongly noting that this is punishable by law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), through their website, details the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, knowledge that every working woman must possess.
Have you encountered any kind of discrimination at your place of work for being expectant? Kindly share your views in the comments section below and tell us how you survived this. Additionally, you can tell us if and how you got legal assistance.