Boss Blasted for Offering Job Back to Mourning Worker Fired Over Pregnancy

A woman on Reddit has described a traumatizing experience at work, which has amassed almost 33,000 upvotes.

In the post, user Misseskteacher explains how she worked in accounting at a car dealership for a few years. She worked hard, never took days off, considered her boss a friend and was close to his family.

She goes on, "After working there a while I found out I was pregnant and had a few instances of my boss making snide comments about it, but I just let it go. I'm not a confrontational person.

"Later in my pregnancy I had almost no amniotic fluid and took a day off to travel to the best hospital in the state since no local doctors could figure out why. I was told at that hospital our son would have a very poor quality of life for a while and then die.

workplace conflict
A man shuts a woman down in the workplace. Stock Image. You don’t have to tell potential or current employers that you’re pregnant. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your pregnancy as long as you are able to perform the job. An employer cannot ask if you are pregnant or plan to have children Getty Images

"Being close to my boss and his family I gave them the news. I assured them I would work until my due date and do what I could after that by working remotely. Two days later I was let go. My boss said it was because of budget cuts. I lost my insurance and my income."

She then describes how in the same week she and her partner buried their son, "I got a text and call from my ex boss asking me to come back to work for him. He said that because I was gone for a while I would need to do a lower level position with less pay for a while, but they desperately wanted me back. I ended up telling him no. Am I being paranoid in thinking something is weird about the situation? I'm in my 20s with not a ton of work experience, but it just feels off to me."

According to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) 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."

The American Association of University Women offers seven pieces of advice on pregnancy and the workplace:

  1. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, pay and other employment benefits. It prohibits policies that limit or prevent women from doing jobs simply because they are pregnant or of childbearing age. It also forbids policies that disparately impact women because they are pregnant or able to become pregnant
  1. The PDA only covers workplaces with 15 or more employees. If you work for an organization with fewer than 15 employees, check with your regional Department of Labor Women's Bureau office to see there is a state or local agency that can assist you.
  2. You cannot be fired for filing a complaint against your employer if you believe they have violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
  3. You can't be bypassed for a promotion because you're pregnant.
  4. If you take pregnancy or maternity leave, your employer must hold your job open for the same amount of time a position would be held open for an employee who is on leave because of sickness or disability.
  5. You don't have to tell potential or current employers that you're pregnant. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your pregnancy as long as you are able to perform the job. An employer cannot ask if you are pregnant or plan to have children.
  6. You can be treated differently based on where you work if you're pregnant and unmarried. Some courts have held that religious organizations or ones working with youth may discriminate against employees who violate the organizations' principles condemning premarital sex. However, these employers would need to demonstrate that they do not treat men who are engaged in premarital sex differently than women. But at most organizations, pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees.

The damaging situation in which this young user found herself in left Reddit user outraged, with one user writing, "They fired you because they didn't want to deal with maternity leave, then tried to hire you back at a lower wage hoping the situation they put you in would have left you desperate enough to accept it. Your former boss is scum, don't go back," in a comment that has amassed nearly 20,000 likes.

Another user posted a comment with nearly 10,000 likes: "Pregnancy is a protected class, in the U.S. at least. He must have realized he f****d up and if you took the job back, it would have make your case damn near impossible. Talk to a lawyer and sign nothing. Do not continue conversations with them or meet with them."

Another user put it bluntly, "Yeah that's f****d up. Probably had had to do with maternity leave and insurance."

If you have a similar dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.