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Fired after telling employer of pregnancy Virginia

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  • mmcgrarth3
    started a topic Fired after telling employer of pregnancy Virginia

    Fired after telling employer of pregnancy Virginia

    My wife worked as a Project Manager at a family owned company with over 200 employees and 10 locations. She worked for the company for about three months. The hiring manager actively sought her out and hired her away from her previous job. My wife was not searching for a new job at the time. She never had any negative feedback or reviews. All the feedback provided by her boss and coworkers was positive. Two days after informing her boss of her pregnancy she was fired. Her boss said that he needed someone who would be dependable and able to work a full-time job. Virginia is an at-will state but does that mean the ADA which protects pregnant women is not enforceable? What are our possible recourses?

  • Betty3
    replied
    Agree that if she turns down the job offered, she most likely will no longer
    qualify for UI benefits.

    Leave a comment:


  • ElleMD
    replied
    If she turns down the job chances are very good that she will no longer qualify for UC. You also risk limiting your remedies in the legal case as she was offered reinstatement and turned it down. After all, the goal of going through the EEOC is to get her job back not just to provide monetary award for what happened. That is a last resort, not a first step.

    By all means talk it over with a lawyer but unless there is significantly more to the story, your wife would be much better served to take the offer. If her supervisor retaliates against her for having asserted her rights, you have a claim for retaliation as that is prohibited by law.

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  • panther10758
    replied
    You risk losing your UI benefits by refusing job

    Leave a comment:


  • mmcgrarth3
    replied
    Update on Situation

    Hopefully some of you can help with the new circumstances. Her employer fought unemployment. We had a fact finding hearing with her prior manager and their HR Rep. The HR rep did not know that my wife's supervisor knew she was pregnant prior to the firing. We won unemployment and then a week later the HR Rep calls us up and offers to reinstate her employment under the same boss. We have misgivings about this because it would be under the same boss. There are no other locations or divisions in our area that she could transfer to. We have already filed an EEOC claim and the company was already notified of the claim. We think we have a really strong case for our EEOC claim and we are not sure what direction to take. We also have a concern about losing unemployment if she turns down the job. Does anyone know how that works in VA? Thank you in advance for all your help!

    Leave a comment:


  • mmcgrarth3
    replied
    Thank you all very much for your help and information. It is truly appreciated!

    Leave a comment:


  • Betty3
    replied
    5 years WOW though I'm not really surprised.

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  • HRinMA
    replied
    For an idea of a timeline, my company just received an EEOC complaint. We have 21 days to file our response. Then the first conference is in September, 3 months after the complaint was filed. That is just for the first step.

    The last EEOC complaint we resolved took 5 years from start to finish.

    Leave a comment:


  • DAW
    replied
    Agreed with the other answers. Just to be clear 49 of the 50 states are "at will". Which basically means either party can end the employment relationship UNLESS a specific law is being violated. Which seems to be the case here. The vast majority of all employees in the U.S. are "at will"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will

    At will is a trickier concept then sometimes thought of. While it is true that the employer can terminate someone without cause, doing so leaves them open to a claim that the termination violated an actual law. Say a pregnancy discrimination claim. I am not saying that the employee in question will win, but I will say based solely on what was said, the employer has their fly unzipped.

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  • cbg
    replied
    And so she did, after re-writing that sentence about six times.

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  • Betty3
    replied
    Originally posted by cbg View Post
    The burden of proof shifts back and forth at various points in the process. Once a complaint is filed, the next step is for the employee to respond to your wife's assertion that she was fired for being pregnant.
    I believe cbg meant employer, not employee.

    Leave a comment:


  • Beth3
    replied
    Your wife may want to consult with an employment law attorney. An attorney can't speed up the EEOC process (which takes many, many months) but if the employer is in violation of the PDA and therefore on the losing side of the equasion, the employer may be interested in "cutting their losses" and negotiating a settlement now in exchange for your wife dropping her EEOC complaint.

    Leave a comment:


  • cbg
    replied
    It doesn't matter how employee friendly the state may or may not be; this is a Federal law and a Federal agency. State law does not come into it.

    The burden of proof shifts back and forth at various points in the process. Once a complaint is filed, the next step is for the employer to respond to your wife's assertion that she was fired for being pregnant.

    She MAY get a monetary settlement. She MAY get her job back. She MAY get both, or neither. It is FAR too early in the process to be thinking about that. If your wife's claim takes as long as most of them do, the baby will be walking before this is resolved.
    Last edited by cbg; 06-29-2011, 12:37 PM.

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  • mmcgrarth3
    replied
    We spoke with the EEOC and the recommended filing a complaint. I am not familiar with the possible outcomes of that. Would we get some sort of monetary settlement or her job back? Her attendance has always been very good. The only time she missed is when the river flooded and we couldn't get out of the subdivision. She was not looking to reduce her hours at all. Is the burden of proof on us to prove she was fired due to being pregnant or is the burden of proof on the employer to prove there was a valid reason to fire her? Since we're an at-will state the employer can fire for no reason at all. It seems very employer friendly and employee non-friendly.

    Leave a comment:


  • cbg
    replied
    The ADA is a Federal law and applies in all states; however, pregnancy is not considered a disability under the ADA so the ADA does not apply. Perhaps you mean the PDA (Pregnancy Discrimination Act)?

    If so, yes, the PDA applies. Even in an at will state you cannot fire someone BECAUSE they are pregnant. It certainly couldn't hurt for your wife to run the question past the EEOC.

    HRinMA's questions are relevant, though.

    Leave a comment:

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