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Reprimand for prenatal & child doctor visits- Termination threatened Florida

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  • Reprimand for prenatal & child doctor visits- Termination threatened Florida

    Background: I have been employed for 7 mos with a small agency of 5 people. I received a letter of reprimand and it states that my job is in jeopardy. I unexpectedly became pregnant in the first 90 days of my new job. I notified my employer at 8 weeks along which was past my 90 days. I am only at 22 weeks and have had doctor's appts. I have now been reprimanded for "excessive absenteeism" because I have had 6 prenatal visits, 5 pre-approved absences, and 7 unexpected absences (5 of which were for sick children doctor visits because school sent them home). The 7 unexpected absences total to 19 hours. I have only ever missed one entire day of work (8 hours of the 19). In essence, verbally what he is saying is that "he is reprimanding me for the doctor visits of my sick kids." I have 2 kids and am a single mother and they have collectively caused me to miss 9 hours of work in 7 months. I have never stayed home with them when sick, and someone has always relieved me so I can return to work. He knew I had children prior to hiring me and has now advised that he expects me to "find someone else to take them to their sick visits". I was told that the pre-approved and prenatal visits are not being included in the grounds for reprimand, however their letter cites all 18 occurences as "excessive & unacceptable." SIDE NOTE: I was given 40 hours of PTO upon my hiring. I have not even used all of my PTO but am being reprimanded for using PTO. I am submitting a rebuttal with my signed reprimand.

    First, I feel I am being discriminated on for my pregnancy. What is my recourse if I am terminated in regards to pregnancy discrimination? (We are not FMLA eligible)

    Second, the letter states that I "unless I change my pattern of absence" I will be released. I obviously will have more prenatal appts and the "pattern" will not get better, so my question is: I am told that I am required to attend prenatal visits and I can be charged with child neglect by DCF if I do not attend my visits. Please cite a reference to this as I can't find any.

    Third, can he reprimand me for how I am using my PTO when there is no employment contract or stipulations on how PTO is to be used?

  • #2
    Even if they only disciplined you for the time you missed for sick kids sent home from school, 7 unexpected absences in a 7 month period is a LOT. Add 6 doctor's office visits and 5 additional absences (pre-approved or not) when you've only worked there 7 months and I can't think of many employers that wouldn't have a problem with your absenteeism.

    Unless you have some real and definite proof that a similarly situated employee who had also only been there seven months but who had a non-maternity medical issue had missed the same amount of time without being disciplined, I don't see a discrimination claim flying. The pregnancy discrimination laws don't say that you have to be allowed all the time off you want or even that you can't be disciplined for taking time for pre-natal appointments. They say that you have to be treated exactly the same as if you were not pregnant. So if someone who was not pregnant can be disciplined for taking that much time, so can you be.

    Your recourse if you are terminated will be to apply for unemployment and look for another job. On the basis of what you have posted I'm not seeing anything illegal about your employer's actions. (Even if the company was FMLA eligible, you would not be as you have not worked there for 12 months yet.)

    I've never heard of failure to attend pre-natal visits being a valid reason to charge you with child neglect. However, I strongly recommend that you see whether your doctor has evening or weekend appointments.

    He can reprimand you for how often you are taking your PTO time and how often it is with no notice, yes.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Agree that based just on what you posted, there doesn't seem to be anything illegal being done by your employer.

      Your employer only has 5 people & your being absent as much as you are could work a hardship on the employer.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

      Comment


      • #4
        FYI, even if this did qualify as pregnancy discrimination, which it does not, with only 5 employees your employer is not subject to either Federal or state discrimination laws, for which the floor is 15 employees.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

        Comment


        • #5
          Per my reference on Fl. & pregnancy -

          No state statute specifically concerns pregnancy leave, but some communities (example Miami/Dade County) have ordinances against discrimination of pregnant employees & that provide for leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Also, state government employees are covered under the parental or family medical leave statute, which prohibits discharging state government employees because pregnancy of the employee or employee's spouse or the adoption of a child.

          There's more info about career service employees & the amount of leave ......
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            However, that does not change the fact that what the poster has described does not meet the definition of discrimination.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

            Comment


            • #7
              Agree. I was just "clarifying" the Fl. pregnancy discrimination & leave information.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

              Comment


              • #8
                I know you know that, Betty - I just wanted to make sure the poster did.

                Guess we're both into clarification.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's a good thing.
                  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                  Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                  Comment

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