I’m Pregnant and Starting a New Job. Can I Be Fired for Taking Leave?

by Evil HR Lady on June 21, 2018

I start a new job next week. I’ll be 25 weeks pregnant. I interviewed really early on and didn’t disclose “just in case”. I was contacted a month later with an offer. At this point, I am bordering fat and pregnant depending on what I am wearing.

I want to disclose immediately but haven’t had the chance. Both parties I need to speak to have been busy at work, on vacation, or briefly meeting with me not in private. I really don’t want to feel deceitful. I want to tell them soon so we can work on a plan for once I take leave.

I am due in early October. I want to prove myself and be treated like anyone else. However, I want us all to be prepared come the fall. My ultimate question is, am I wrong for not saying anything? Also, being that I’m newly employed could I ultimately be denied a reasonable 4-6 week leave and fired? I am very anxious about this.

To read the answer, click here: I’m Pregnant and Starting a New Job. Can I Be Fired for Taking Leave?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Maude June 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Assuming the LW is in the US, she should also look at what the laws in her state are. Some states give additional protections if the mother does not qualify for FMLA due to time on the job.

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Becky Mcintyre June 21, 2018 at 3:52 pm

If the pregnant employee is in the United States, she doesn’t qualify for FMLA unless she works for a company of 50 or more. Depending on the state, she may qualify for other protections including income.

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Maria Rose June 21, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Granted that this person is entitled to the time off ( all depending on where geographical) paid or not, I feel very sorry for the person who hired this person who will be faced with a gap of coverage from October (after the birth) through the end of the year. Hopefully this company is not the type that has increased business from November to the end of year, when a missing person will effect job load on everyone. I hope that this works out well for both parties.

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Jeffjackson June 25, 2018 at 2:18 am

A pregnant person taking a job is no more of a burden than any other person who takes a job because they need the medical insurance for an existing condition. The only difference is this lady’s medical issue will resolve itself in 4 months. She is asking if it is okay to take a reasonable 4-6 week leave, well, it’s short term disability and you get 6 -8 weeks. Just like any other employee who has a medical abdominal procedure.

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NurseJackie June 30, 2018 at 4:28 am

My office just hired a new ‘traffic coordinator” who after five months on the job took 8 weeks off to recover from bunion surgery. It happens.

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Crystal Alexaner June 22, 2018 at 3:28 am

Hello. First off, Congratulations! Having a baby a wonderful and a life experience you are truly blessed to have. As for the work situation, I would do my job, and do it the best I can. As you will be attending prenatal doctor appointments, your doctor will be using the information you provide regarding your health and wellness combined with his tests results and evaluations to monitor your health throughout your pregnancy.
Everyone is different, but my doctors ended up putting me on state disability my last couple of months because I had anemia and my births were very difficult due to their sizes and I also have RH-negative blood. So, because my doctor ordered disability, my work had no choice but to keep me on staff. And I always ended up going back to work. If I decided that I did not want to go back to that company after the baby was born, I still had time on disability to have time to be with my newborn and seek other work.
You will be surprised how much you change after having a baby. Things you cared about and felt were important to you change. So much changes.
I would definitely be honest about the pregnancy, and remember, it is against the law to be fired for pregnancy. It is discrimination. So, unless they ask, you do not have to disclose your pregnancy to anyone. Just like you don’t have to disclose by law your age, sexual preferences, race, religion and so on.
Just do an excellent job. Don’t worry about being pregnant. When the time comes, you and your doctor will know what is right for you. Some women can work right up to their due date. For others, it is unfeasible. With disability and possibly work benefits for family pregnancy leave absences, you should be okay. They can always hire a temp to cover your work while you are on leave. It will work out.

Enjoy the process.

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Laura K June 22, 2018 at 7:45 am

I interviewed at almost 6 months pregnant (1st baby, could hide it well). And I made a conscious choice to hide it for several weeks once I started working. I was managing a lab of 30 people, and I wanted to hit the ground running. I wanted to make sure everyone could see my attitude and commitment before I mentioned the pregnancy. When I did tell my manager, I came in with a plan for how things would run when I was gone. I didn’t speak in a way that left it open for choice – just that I would be out 6 weeks and would be back.

This was super risky. I was working with a staffing company, so I didn’t have protection at all. I hadn’t worked a full year, so I didn’t have FMLA protection. I was out 6 weeks with no pay, but I had my job when I got back. The management was thrilled with what I had been able to do before I left and the way things ran when I was out.

I would also tell you to look for supporters. For everyone that wouldn’t make eye contact with me, there were 3 more people I didn’t know who were coming up to me and congratulating me and asking details. Weirdly enough, it ended up being a nice icebreaker and provided several networking opportunities.

I stayed for almost 4 more years (and another baby too). I was actually a better employee, with kids, because I had to be laser-focused and manage my time well, to get home.

Best of luck to your reader and thanks for bringing this topic to light, Suzanne.

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