Pregnant and Having Trouble at Work

Updated on September 18, 2011
H.H. asks from Wilkes Barre, PA
20 answers

I am 24 weeks pregnant and work a full time job as a pharmacy tech in a mail order pharmacy where I work 10 hour night shifts, 3 days a week. I've been there for over 2 years and have always gotten along well with everyone, including supervisors. Since becoming pregnant, I've noticed that I have been treated differently, in a negative way, by the shift supervisor and lead. I have even been screamed at, in front of other employees, at my work station, while working, for no reason at all on more than one occassion and been told afterwards that I was made an example of in front of the other employees to make them behave. Before becoming pregnant, I was never treated this way. I have never been in trouble and was never even spoken to in a cross tone by either of them. For a month or two, the shift supervisor and lead each took turns every work day to make things harder for me, isolate me and intimidate me. They would move any employee that would talk to me while we were working to a different part of the pharmacy, schedule me to work in a job in the pharmacy that they were well aware I was not able to do while pregnant (too strenuous or too much pill dust), yelling at me in front of others, even resulting in making me cry on one occassion, among other things. They seem to be okay recently but my troubles at work don't end there. About a month ago, on an ultrasound, it came up that our baby had an echogenic bowel and I took a leave of absence from work to deal with it, as I had no idea what I was dealing with or what it meant for our baby and it deeply upset me. My two week leave was covered and approved under fmla. I took the paperwork to my ob to fill out and as far as I knew, everything was taken care of. Now today, I get a letter from work stating that they never received the paperwork and that they needed all of it filled out and mailed back within 7 days or I will be terminated from my job and my benefits will be taken away. My ob has already taken care of this and sees a lot of patients, so it takes time for paperwork especially to be taken care of. Can they legally fire me for this? My husband has said that he believes they have been trying to get me to quit. That way, they wouldn't have to pay my maternity leave and I wouldn't be able to collect unemployment. According to this letter, if I can't get my ob to fill out this paperwork again and get it to them by this time next week, I will no longer have a job. I am beyond shocked and angry about this. I have no clue what my options are so any help would be appreciated.

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answers from Dallas on

Most doctors offices keep copies of papers they fill out and sign in the patient's chart or scan them to be included in EMR (electronic medical records). Ask the office manager for help and to locate the paperwork for you. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would go to the HR person and talk to them directly. Take a copy of the paperwork from the doc's office showing they did their part. Paperwork can get lost. I would also report the behavior of the supervisors. That is unacceptable.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Huntington on

So sorry you are going through all of this. I am a HR specialist who works with FMLA for a workforce of nearly 1000 employees. I am also a mom who has used FMLA before and understands pregnancy laws.

It is illegal to discriminate against someone who is pregnant. That means you cannot be treated inappropriately because of your pregancy. When it come to the mistreatment by your lead and shift supervisor, I suggest you go IMMEDIATELY to the next person in line and speak with him or her. Tell him or her that you care about your job, but feel you are being treated inappropriately. If that doesn't stop it, I am sure you have an HR office or a hotline to report problems to. You must get on record you tried to stop this.

With regards to your FMLA, you never said you were sure your doctor turned in the paperwork. Having worked at a doctor's office and now in HR I know doctor's offices often fail to fill these forms out completely or in a timely manner. I know this sounds harsh, but the responsibility falls fully on you to get them in in time (no penalties for docs!). I suggest you wait at the doc office to get them and ask for a fax number they can be sent to in your company. save the confirmation from the fax that they went through. This is one of the most important things about FMLA--meet deadlines. In most cases, you can ask for an extension, but since they have already told you it was late once, I would work very hard to get it in on time. You asked if it was legal for them to fire you and, yes, it would be legal if you did not provide documentation by their deadlines if firing is consistent with how the would treat others who had the same number of unexcused absences.

Keep in mind, too, you now only have 10 weeks of maternity leave after the baby is born. Companies can always choose to be more generous than the law and some do, but some don't.

I doubt your situation has anything to do with not wanting to pay maternity leave. Most companies understand overhead is part of doing business, but your shift workers may be taking it out on you because they selfishly see your leave as more work for them. This is why you need to talk to the store manager or HR and get this to stop.

I wish you the best.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

As an HR professional you actually have two situations. The treatment and FMLA. FMLA first. You took the papers to your OB and you "thought' it was taken care of? Apparently not. It is your responsibility to ensure that your documentation is received. Why didn't you call your company to make sure they received the paper work? Yes they can fire you. Get that paper work to them ASAP. Go to the OB and wait for the paper work, personally take it to your company. Ask that they sign it and give you a copy of it with their signature and date received.

Treatment - they are behaving in a discrimatory way and that is illegal. They cannot treat you any different than any other employee. If you have not discussed this with someone in HR you need to immediately. Any HR professional worth their salt would freak out over this. These managers are opening the company up for a pregnancy discrimination law suit and those can get very ugly. Also, they sound like incompetent managers if they think embarassing or "making an example" in a negative way is the way to manage people. Discuss it with HR immediately.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Most doctors keep a copy of what they complete. Can you just get a copy of the original?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Do not quit!!! Follow-up on the paperwork and document everything. I would also be discussing these issues with your HR department. This is rude and as another post said I think your coworkers are resentful that they'll have to pick up the slack while you're on Maternity leave....You know bad...This is life and women have babies. In the meantime do what you need to protect yourself and don't quit because you deserve the maternity benefit for the 6-8 weeks you are paid.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Well we can't really advise you appropriately because we are just hearing one side of the story. Sounds like no fun to be in...and as far as the leave of absence sounds like maybe you haven't been keeping a well enough track of what is going on. You can't just leave things hanging and asume that your boss knows that your OB is busy and it takes it a while for "them" to process paperwork.

As far as collecting can't be denied unemployment because you were just because they terminate you (this happened to my hubby...he still qualified) doesn't mean you wont be a qualified person.

You could just be on such edge lately with everything that you feel each act is one against you...I have a long story with my last pregnancy but it took me a while to realize that this is what I felt like but wasn't true.

But you never know what could be happening, my best idea right now took two weeks off and told them that you would have a "permission slip" to do so and you have not shown them this slip yet...I don't blame them in this case for that part...especially if you have not kept in touch with both parties (both) to make sure all are in the loop.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

They are trying to make you quit. They are making life as miserable for you as possible to do so. Call your dr and tell them that if you don't get the paperwork to them you will be fired. If you have good ob they will take care of it. Don't quit unless it is too stressful for you. You may want to seek legal help but sometimes on the job harrassment is hard to prove. Congrats on your baby and good luck in dealing with the morons at work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

As far as the FMLA paperwork goes, I would not expect my physician’s office to send it to my work. I worked in an OB clinic for many years and we never sent/faxed FMLA paperwork to an employer. The employee/patient always picked it up and turned it. That is really the only way you actually know it has been done. So don't rely on you OB to send it in for you. Pick it up and take it to your work yourself and keep a copy with the date you turned it in and to whom you turned it in to. Sorry you are being treated so poorly this is supposed to be a happy time in your life. Talk to someone higher than the people making you feel so bad. If that does not work see if your company has an ethics hotline if not think about contacting the EEOC and see what they have to say about it. I hope everything ends up ok with your baby. Hang in there!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi H.
So sorry you are going through this. I know it is difficult but this is the time to be strong and stand up for your rights and not fall apart and let these women win.
I would write everything down so you have a clear picture of the last few months.Stick to the facts. Contact either HR or your union rep ASAP.
Ring your OB and explain to him that they are saying that the paperwork was not filed. Give your work number to your ob's secretary and ask her to ring your employer asap.
Do not let them treat you like this. You are entitled to enjoy your pregnancy and have maternity leave!!
Wishing you the best of luck and congrats on your pregnancy.
B. k

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

My advice is to get one of those legal services. I had Prepay Legal services for several years. You can sign up immediately with your complaint, and they will handle your issue. I think I paid about $20 a month for this service. In addition to taking care of things like speeding tickets and such, they will send a letter and open a file on this matter. If they give you a hard time now, can you imagine what it will be like when you actually have your baby?
I had an issue several years ago regarding an insurance dispute. They got right on it, sent a letter, and the problem was taken care of. I was very happy with the outcome. It's amazing how fast people sit up when a lawyer gets involved.
Anyway, I hope you get things straightened out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with your husband , it sounds like they are trying to get you to quit. You can try HR, but keep in mind HR job is to do whats best overall for the company. The best thing you can do at this point is document document document. Keep a detailed log with times, dates, names and incidents. Call you OB, explain what your employer is saying/doing, and see if they can rush the paperwork, and if they have tracking records of when they sent the original paperwork. I might also call an attorney. Many of them will give a free 30 minute consult.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I second what everyone has said, especially Keri.

Do yourself a favor and contact the EEOC asap to find out about what your options are...doesn't mean you have to file a claim, but at least you will gain knowledge. In addition to hand-delivering the paperwork I would send it next day mail with return receipt requested. This requires a signature from the person receiving the mail and puts everyone on notice that you know your rights.

If you feel they are going to fire you, call the EEOC and file that claim first. This could end up protecting your job. Don't feel shy about doing it: you pay taxes for it and this is for your baby.

Some background: I have gone up against mortgage companies, insurance companies, employers, and construction companies and won--without an attorney--because there are laws in place to protect us and most unethical companies count on us being too weak, scared, or uneducated to know that. Show them that they're wrong H.!!! Go girl!

And BTW congratulations on your pregnancy : )

ADDED: Yes Jennifer is right; the DOL website will have lots of info for you; forgot that!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

They are discriminating against you and it's illegal. Follow up with your OB and let them know you need the ppwk urgently. Ask them to give it to you so you can hand deliver it to your HR department. Also, maybe do some legal research to see if they can really fire you over this so that you will be able to speak to them with some authority. I'm not sure how much this would cost, but look into have an attorney send them a letter advising them to stop treating you this way because it's ILLEGAL. Lastly, try to relax. It's not good for you or the baby to be stressed. Enjoy your maternity leave then start looking for another job.



answers from Washington DC on

I think that you need to find out your rights and speak to HR. It sounds like they are encouraging you to quit through unfriendly work practices. I think your DH is right. Do you know of anyone else they hassled through their pregnancy or anyone who quit after having a baby?

Make copies of everything. I did and I also had to bring in the forms myself after they were filled out. You need to be extra careful since they might be out to get you.

Make notes of everything. If the berating was not about YOUR behavior but about someone else's, it makes no sense to scream at you and make you look bad to the team. That is retaliatory in some way toward you.


answers from Detroit on

Get the paper work completed, hang in there and look forward to having the baby. Handle your business and do not quit. Good luck



answers from Philadelphia on

I would document every instance that something like you describe happens. Keep a file of each instance so you have a record of exact dates and times. It wouldn't hurt to consult with a lawyer specializing in employment law. You can usually get a free 30 minute consultation which can really save you time you may not have to research on your own. You may also want to check out This is a great site that is really a gateway to legal info specifically for people living in Pennsylvania.


answers from New York on

First of all you should make photocopies of everything you turn in to your employer. This way you would have had it to send them again. Always cover your butt. Explain to your ob your situation, I am sure they can help you. I would also contact the labor board to see what you can do. That is harassment cause you are pregnant. I was in a simular spot except they were nice during my pregnancy, but once I returned they treated me badly. To the point they fired me. I faught it and won. They had to pay me all my back pay and give me my job back. Needless to say I didnt go back. They would just make my life misserable. The judge accepted that.
Dont let them get away with it. That is discrimination. But make copies of EVERYTHING! Best of luck to you! :-)



answers from Nashville on

I would look at the Department of Labor website and educate yourself on pregnancy discrimination laws. Keep notes of what is going on with dates and names of people as well as describing what has happened. If it doesn't stop, contact your local equal employment opportunity office (EEOC). You do not need a lawyer to file a claim there and you are required to first file a claim with the EEOC before you can pursue a legal claim in court. If you end up filing an EEOC complaint, they will inform your employer about the complaint and ask for information from the employer. The EEOC will investigate but it will take some time. To be honest, I wouldn't file a claim until they have taken some adverse employment action against you (i.e. terminate or demote you). Make sure you turn in your FMLA paperwork on time because you don't want to give them a good reason to terminate you. I would educate yourself now on your rights by looking at the department of labor website.



answers from Allentown on

Exactly what Stacy B said. You can and will be fired if you do not get them the paperwork. Perhaps they received it and lost it(maybe even intentionally) but if you don't have proof and signatures of dropping it off, you will have to do it again. And sometimes things do legitimately get lost or stalled for whatever reason. Your ob will understand and call them and tell them you will be fired and you need copies immediately(go to their office to pick it up). Take it to your job yourself and have copies for yourself as well. Have them sign for it and ask for a copy of that. If you don't do this, they can fire you legally. So just do it.

And yes the treatment is a totally different story. You do need to report it asap. Perhaps right after you get the signed copy of receipt of that paperwork ask to speak to someone about the harassment. You should not put up with that and they are liable for a lawsuit. But again it is totally separate from the paperwork issue even if it doesn't feel like it. Please take both seriously s you don't lose a job. If you don't follow through with the paperwork, it is unlikely that a lawsuit for mistreatment would get anywhere because they now have proof of your not following through with something. Call the ob, explain the situation, go there to pick up the paperwork tel them what time you will be coming, go make copies and head straight to your employer to drop it off, and don't forget to get a signature of receipt. Good luck!!!!

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