Just Got Laid off and Am Visibly Pregnant...

Updated on August 05, 2008
B.H. asks from San Francisco, CA
21 answers

can't help but feel like I've been discriminated against due to my pregnancy... any thoughts or anyone else have a similar experience??

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answers from Fresno on

I don't think you can assume it's pregnancy discrimination just because you got laid off. Companies are laying off people left and right due to the economy. Find out why the company laid you off first- they may just need to get rid of employees.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on


Having been in a similar situation not too long ago and talking with an employment attorney, it is a very long process to prove pregnancy discrimination if you are looking to sue the company for monetary compensation. I'm not saying it's not worth it, but just be ready for a long fight.

Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Stockton on

hey B.H.

I had my baby 2 years old, my mother was taking care of her during the day. I missed her first word,her first step, she started calling my mom, Mamma. But I had a very important Accounting position for a very large Corporation, I reported to the Vice President of Finance. When I got pregnant they asked if this was going to be a problem. I being a first ime mom and a real "bread winner" ...I made more than my husband, it was my credit and salary that let us purchase a house.

I said of course not. After a year and a half my mother wanted to return to work and we found a daycare. this was "babyboom" the movie. I was in a board meeting when the call came in. Teh president (CEO) said J. take the call in here. It was the daycare provider... "Your daughter just thre up allover my daycare provider, you need to come and pick her up now!" The Ceo said 'is everything ok." I just smiled and said of course and finished the Corporate, state of Financial Conglomoration Report in a record 10 minutes." Taht night I went home and told my husband taht I had to find a job closer to home. The pay in the BAy Area might be realy good but I can't be over an hour away from our daughter. I found a job within a week, no more than 20 minutes from home. the pay was less, but so was the commute and gasoline. I gave my two weeks notice and then I got sooo sick. I was throwing up morning, noon, and night...I couldn't start my new job. I thought I had the worst stomach flu ever. I went to the Doctor...I was pregnant with our son. I called my new employer, they asked me to come in. I explained that I had been a working mother before. Tehy calculated that the baby was due in June. Taxes are processed in April (May, June) I would be taking maternity leave right before the tax deadline. They told me that they were pulling their offer of employment and that if i said anything that their position was that an offer was only in consideration that I had no proof of actual promise.

Instead of feeling totally discriminated against, (well at first I did..boy was I angry and self rightouse) I was now home with my baby. No more daycare people calling me telling me what I was supposed to do. No one would hire me because with this second pregnancy (boy did I show..and I was sick as a dog) So I told my husband (after all he did have something to do with this) I wasn't gooing back to work. He said"We're gonna starve." I said "No , you are going to make enough money to support the children that you brought into this world." And I am going to raise my children not pay someone else to. My husband made $5 an hour carrying buckets for a wall paper hanging contractor. He knew how to hang wall paper. So I got all the information needed for him to get his contracting license. I talked it into a tape recorder and he listened on his way to work. I called GMC and did a vouluntary reposession of my brand new convirtible, they sold it at action with no money due to me. I pulled off my acrylic nails, cancelled my cell phone, bottled water, (oh this is a big one...the cable tv) Motto if it did not support life, we did not spend money on it. My husband got home cooked meals. Mashed potatoes $1.98 for a 5 pound bag, and meatloaf with gravy. I no longer paid for child care, gasoline to work, dry cleaning, cell phone, car payment, car insurance, lunches during work, pantyhose...Oh my God ...when it all came down to it I was working to pay for half the months expenses just to work while not being with my baby. I did try a direct sales business walking with my baby in a stroller and pregnant but the company made you spend money on catalogs and how much can you realy make selling 99 cent lipsticks. But it did give me an insight to making money without the 9-5. My husband did get his contractors lisence, our PG&e was probably shut off at least 4 times that year. the church helped with food, and when my husband became a contractor I solicited the top designers in Southern California, sending them a Marketing package for their Model Home projects. It was a tough two years. Threats of foreclosure almost every month. But after two years we built my husbands talents into a $220,000 company. He had relied on me to make the money. Now, a high school drop out but with good work ethics was able to support his family. We now have 7 (yes that's seven children) We sold our three bedroom and now live in a 7 bedroom 4 bath home.

Inow pay for our kids private education through another direct selling company, with no deadlines, or pressure sales. I work when I want to and probably make more than most women in a 9-5. My childrens ages are 17, 15, 12, 10, 8, 7, and 2.

Being turned down for my job was probably the best thing that ever could have happened to our lives. My husband stopped depending on me as the additional income provider. We became frugal and started looking beyond next weeks paycheck. We united in a long term plan. I became closer to my husband letting me be a mother to our child and not a paycheck to our (non-children lifestyle) my husband grew up.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

The exact same thing happened to me a few months back. I was 4 months pregnant and laid off. The first thing I want to say is not to panic or worry. You need to make sure you don't bring on any added stress.

I would recommend you speak to an attorney, it's not going to cost you anything. In my situation, there wasn't much that could be done, I was an "At-Will Employee". I was however able to negotiate a better severence pay. You need to explain to them that they at least owe you pay up until your delivery. Explain to them that there is little to no chance that you will be hired with a new company in your condition. It worked for me.

Something else I just found out, State Disability will now pay you benefits for an additional 6 weeks to bond with your baby. This is on top of your normal disability pay.

Hope this info helps...and GOOD LUCK!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Hi B H,
What was the reason for the lay off? I am a business manager who has an employee out on maternity disability right now so I have been working closely with our employment lawyer to make sure I handle everything to the legal letter. If you want to email me with more info I will try to help you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

unless they hire someone else to fill your position soon after you got laid off, then it would be almost impossible to prove anything. if someone fills your position from within the company, it's just called downsizing. an attorney is your best bet. i love my law firm. if you'd like to conatct them. let me know.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hello BH,
FIrst off does your "exit letter" state if you were laid off in those words or what does it say in words for the reason they let you go? Fired, laid off, position going away??I use to be an HR manager. It is key you find out why you were laid off in detail. This will be important when you file for unemployement. Secondly, there are a few options for you trying to collect any money while out of work. You can also file for disability which you will need your doctor to file for you while your still pregnant. You can't collect on both disability and unemployment but disability pays you more. Explain to your situation to your dr. He may put you on it to not cause any stres to you and the baby right now, etc. You could also do temp work. Many temp agencies will bring you on pregnant to fill in for their clients on Short term assignments. You can call a lawyer and get a one time free consultation and find out if you have any leagl rights to go after your employer. That way you will know if you have any rights and ease your mind. You can also call the Board of Labor/EDD they are on your side. My heart goes out to you. It has to be a borrible feeling and its suppose to be a time for you to enjoy. Try not to get too worked up think about the health of your baby. It will all work out. You can also get ins through the state being pregnant if you don't have anyone elses to fall on or if your no covererage now. Remember people won't offer inormation to you unless you ask. THere are lots of programs that state has but they don't tell you about them. I found out that I could get a PPO ins through the state programs with Blue Cross for 150 a month when my private ins canceled me due to a pre exsisting condition. Lot cheaper then cobra. Try to think positive. Hnag in there. I pray it all works out.

SAHM, 2.5yo son & 1 month old son (came 5 weeks early). Love the outdoors/water. Married to a wonderful man. too bad he travels for work every week. I feel like a single mom living on very few z'a. ;-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Okay, with all due respect, I think Christine might want to brush up on the law. It's not legal to fire (or lay someone off) due to their pregnancy. I don't think suggestions regarding alternative working arrangements is quite what B H is looking for.



answers from San Francisco on

Good Afternoon B.H.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Unless something extremely blatant has occurred, do not waste your money on an attorney, most will take it and do nothing for you. There are options that won't cost you anything more but your time. Don't fall into the POOR ME mode, because I don't think you are being discriminated against due to your pregnancy. The mama who mentioned our economy is right, there are many layoffs happening in our country.

Again, this should be a positive and wonderful time in your life. You will receive unemployment insurance, have your healthy baby (you might be able to have a few weeks disability insurance)...Check out ALL your options. No matter what, take the high road.


Good Morning B.H.,

FIRST: Have you signed up for your unemployment insurance?

Did the company provide a severance package? Are you able to keep your insurance benefits through a COBRA plan or are you covered through another insurance?

Most California Company's have an "At Will" employment policy. This means they don't have to have a reason for termination. What does your original offer letter or employment agreement say?

How would you rate your job performance and attendance? Was anyone else laid off?

If you feel you were wrongfully terminated, I would start with a letter to the head of HR and copy the President and/or owner of the company. Be to the point and above all professional. Ask for whatever compensation you feel that you are entitled to. I believe you will get a response, even if it's not the one you want.

If you are not happy with what they say, contact the Labor Board. This will be a long and drawn out process. This is a time when you should be as stress free as possible, so make sure it’s worth it.

Take care of yourself and your baby!



answers from San Francisco on

You probably are being discriminated against. They can't legally ask you if you are pregnant but if you are showing then they don't really need to ask.

Maybe you could try to dress in a way that makes you look more overweight than pregnant. :-)

If that doesn't work you could wait for one of them to ask you if you are pregnant and if you don't get the job you can sue them for discrimination. :-O

I really hope you find a new job.

Best Wishes!




answers from Sacramento on

I would ask your employer why you were laid off and try to fight it with a higher up manager first. I've seen a lot of people present their cases and get their jobs back that way. If your company does performance reviews (e.g. where a bunch of co-workers provide input as to performance), it would help to get a copy of it to make sure your supervisor's decision is valid.

I do know that employees who whine, or gossip are the company's least productive employees. Then, it would make sense for those personalities to be laid off due to productivity (a right that all companies have). Both men and women know from experience that after having kids (e.g. first, second, or third child), moms have a tendency to increase the complaints/whines/gossips several-fold.



answers from Redding on

Dear Barb,
First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy.
Second of all, you don't give a whole lot of information.
What type of work do you do? Were other people laid off as well? How long have you been employed with the company?
There is a difference between being laid off with the possibility of returning and being permanently terminated.
You say that you are visibly pregnant, but did you ever confirm with your employer that you were expecting a baby?
Unless it is written up somehow in your contract or agreed to in your employee handbook that you cannot be employed during pregnancy, you can't be laid off or terminated solely due to being pregnant.
For instance, does your job entail you being exposed to hazardous chemicals? Do you work for the telephone company as a person who climbs utility poles all day?
Many employers now hire people "at will", meaning you can leave anytime you want without giving a reason and they can terminate you at anytime without giving a reason.
Did you have health insurance through your employer? You may be eligible to continue that coverage under COBRA laws.

Only you know the particulars of your specific case. But you can always contact the Labor Board to ask more specific questions. I would also advise contacting the Employment Development Department and notifying them immediately of your change in employment status. They would be able to tell you what, if any, unemployment benefits are available to you.
Take care of yourself!



answers from Stockton on

No similar experiences here, but I think that both of the Lindas and Molly are right on. If it is, indeed, discriminatory there are legal actions that can and should be taken against your former employer. Good luck and keep us posted.



answers from San Francisco on

Questions. Were you the only one laid off? What kind of work did you do?



answers from San Francisco on



I would contact the state discrimination board and see what they say. It sounds like you may have been layed off because of your pregnancy. Were you the only one layed off? You can also contact EDD of california- I am sorry you are going through this~

Take care,




answers from San Francisco on

I was laid off of my job of 15 years when I was 5 months pregnant with my second daughter. I was living out in Vegas at the time and was a Liz Claiborne Coordinator for the Las Vegas area stores. I thought the same thing, because I was the only one in the area being let go. I later found out that they were laying of Coordinator’s in AZ and a couple in CA too, but not all of them. If I hadn't been pregnant would I still have been one of the ones laid off? I'll never know and it wasn't worth the stress on the pregnancy to worry about it.
I did get a great severance check since I was with the company so long and that helped. I looked around and found the same thing; no one was willing to hire a 5 month pregnant woman that was going to need maternity leave soon. We decided to wait out the pregnancy as I continued to look around. I also began looking into childcare for soon-to-be two kids and was just appalled at the price. I started getting frustrated, feeling like after my pregnancy all I was going to do, is go to work to pay someone else to watch my girls. I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I could work from home and make money while watching my girls at the same time. My husband and I talked and he agreed it didn't make sense either and that as long as I found something legitimate that I could bring in at least an extra $200 - $500 a month, it would work. Then my cousin actually referred me to a team of moms that worked from home and I looked into that and it worked out perfect. It is now 6 years later and I am still with them working from home and earning enough money to be able to stay at home with them. This is what worked for me and it all just happened to fall into place at the perfect time. If you want information, let me know and you can check it out for yourself to see if it might work for you.
Best of luck!!!



answers from Sacramento on

I can't say that I've been pregnant and looking for a job, boy, that's a tough one. I wish you luck in your job hunting. I have been looking for work though and it has been very difficult and I haven't been getting many responses, so hopefully you'll have better luck. In the mean time, an acquaintance of my husband took the time to tell me about a home business that I found very interesting. If you'd like to check it out, go to my web site at www.sendoutcards.com/katskards. Even if you don't want to start your own business, it's a great personal service and it has saved me a great deal of time and money. I've been having so much fun with it, that it's a nice break from the stress of looking for a job. Good luck to you, I hope find something real soon.



answers from Chico on

That is absolutely horrible. Please turn them in!



answers from San Francisco on

Were you the only person to get laid off? If you feel you've been unfairly treated by your employer, contact the State Labor Board at###-###-####.



answers from Sacramento on

Aw, congrats on the pregnancy and boo on the lay off!

I was laid off in 2005, when I was 4 months along.

I went on UI and stayed on it, I even went to multiple interviews, even while 7 months pregnant, and made no bones about the fact that I was obviously pregnant, but able to start work immediately and expected to be back to work within a couple of months after the birth.

I also felt discriminated against even though I was the one who had to bring up the pregnancy during the interviews, and that while able to work immediately (yet go on leave soon), I wanted to know if they could wait a few months.

Eventually, I just did UI, DI, UI and then went back to work when my daughter was 5 months old.

If you qualify for FMLA, you might be able to take that time off as well.

On another note, a good friend of mine started working at Verizon at 5 months pregnant. They did not discriminate against her, and she worked for them for 15 months after her son was born too.

Good luck to you! I have been there, and I totally get how annoying it is to have to go to interviews and feel like your belly is the only thing they are paying attention to.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi B.H.

I work in disability management for a large (and respected) employer in Sacramento. I would need a lot more information to give you my professional opinion but if you'd like one you can e-mail me with the details of your lay off. :) I might be able to walk you through if it would be worthwhile to file a claim against them for discrimination.

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