Fired For Being Pregnant
If we've hired you, we expect to get the most out of you.
I read this in the news recently and how it affected me afterwards, really caught me off guard. Perhaps, I am still a little sore about what happened.
The topic on gender discrimination is something that goes on unaddressed most of the time. Many talented women have lost their jobs because of this.
They have often put off starting a family to build a career or financial stability for themselves. It’s like an unwritten rule that everybody knows: “If we’ve hired you, we expect to get the most out of you. No getting pregnant for at least the first 6 months.”
5 years ago around this time, I was asked to hand in my resignation letter. I was about 2 months pregnant with my then, first daughter, just 2 weeks shy of my 3 months probation. I wasn’t sick all the time, I even worked over-time and handled a major event for my boss. In short, I was not a burden at all in any way. On contrary they were very impressed with me – not my words, theirs.
Sure, you can talk contraceptives and we can argue all day long, but sometimes life just throws you a curve ball. So, I decided to be up front and told my boss I was having a baby. I thought he would actually take some time to think about it, considering how much I contributed in such a short span. So imagine my shock, when he said I needed to hand in my resignation the next day so that it would be in time for me to give my 2 weeks notice as stipulated in my contract, under probation period.
I handed in my resignation letter the next day. 1 week before my last day, my boss called me into his room in hopes to offer me to stay. I basically told him to SOD it. Well, in a nice way. Another friend had offered me another job and I was happy to leave. Sure it doesn’t pay as much, but I didn’t want to work with my boss anymore. He didn’t deserve me.
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) organised a recent online survey and found 44% of the 222 women respondents say they had lost a job, missed out on a promotion, were demoted or put through extended probation because they were pregnant.
49% said they feared losing their jobs or being sidelined because of their pregnancy while 31% said they put plans to get pregnant on hold for fear of losing their jobs or promotion.
Top 5 ways employers discriminated against pregnant women
- Making their positions redundant
- Denying them promotions
- Placing them on prolonged probation
- Demoting them
- Terminating them
“It is discriminatory for a prospective employer to ask questions about a woman’s marital status, pregnancy status or plans, sexual orientation or age, during the job application process,” stressed WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan.
Unfortunately, while gender discrimination happens all the time, few women complain or take action against their employers. It seems like a troublesome process that nobody wants to even start.
I may have gotten my own back by turning the offer down, but how many of us women out there can afford to do that realistically? Which one of us don’t need to make a living?
Even if it was a gutsy, feel good move turning the job down to his face, it still didn’t make it right.