#1  
Unread 09-23-2003, 12:52 PM
RebeccaAnn
 
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Default Termination of a Pregnant Employee

We need help!!!

Recently, a client of ours (they outsource their HR through us) has come to us wanting to lay off a pregnant employee. This employee has had good but not outstanding performance reviews in the past. She works as a Customer Rep. and takes care of certain groups of clients. Back in March, she took on a client, announced she was pregnant in June,and by August she felt that it was too much work and asked for this client to be given to another employee. Our client has a lot of seasonal type work, and feels as though they need to lay off someone in the Customer Service dept....and they feel that this pregnant employee is the least productive, and would like to lay her off. We are very hesitant about the situation- due to discrimination and the fact that they have no negative documentation. Can anyone give us some advice on this matter???!!!!!!

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!


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  #2  
Unread 09-23-2003, 03:27 PM
gillian2
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

Advise them that if they go to court the jury will evaluate the motive for laying off this employee and will question any motive about poor productivity because there is no documentation. You could advise them of this, recommend against laying off this person unless they are willing to accept the risks of doing so and offer to help them with the performance issues - do a performance plan, give the person some time to get it right and then deal with it through corrective action, including dismissal if it comes to that.
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  #3  
Unread 09-24-2003, 12:07 AM
Rockie
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

The statement "they feel this pregnant employee is the least productive" somehow says it all. Putting yourself in the jury pool - if there is no other documentation other than the fact that she is pregnant, the company is staring straight into a discrimination lawsuit.
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  #4  
Unread 09-24-2003, 02:46 AM
JM in ATL
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

Well let's start with this... REMOVE the fact that she is pregnant all together. Now, sit down and review all of the personnel files in the CR dept. Make sure your documentation supports getting rid of this ee.

Does another ee who is compensated at the same level, have the same experience, and have the same tenure as she, have better or worse performance reviews? Do they have better or worse attendance records, are they more or less productive.

I would strongly suggest that when you look at the paper and not the person, you have a solid and justifiable reason to term this ee. Because if she does decided that she wants to file a discrim. claim, the courts are going to want to see paper. They will never be able to see her poor attitude or her laziness. All they will see is that another ee with a worse personnel record was kept and a pregnant ee was let go.

I have termed a prego before, but this was after counseling and coaching. She just wouldn't improve. I had no hesitations b/c I knew it was the right decision.
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  #5  
Unread 09-24-2003, 03:44 AM
Whatever
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

I would add to all the other comments-find out if the client ever said anything in the least bit derogatory that used the word "pregnant" in front of any other employee. If they did, the statement will come back to haunt them, guaranteed.
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  #6  
Unread 09-24-2003, 04:07 AM
marc
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

When she announced the client was too much work, did anyone involved think through what that meant? Did she have a doctors note advising light duty or other work restrictions? If an ee announces that he/she could not perform major portions of a job description, that could be interpreted as a self-termination. Did anyone follow-up with the ees decision to change her job description in mid-stream? This was a red flag that could lead you to the result you desire.
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  #7  
Unread 09-24-2003, 04:24 AM
gillian2
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

Not if the employer really said that the pregnant one is the least productive, lets get rid of her.
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  #8  
Unread 09-24-2003, 05:43 AM
San Francisco
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee



Unless she is less productive right now because she is pregnant - morning sickness, tired, just not feeling well - and that is her reason for asking to be removed that client. But that's California. With our strict pregnancy laws, I would want to have more information.

Elizabeth
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  #9  
Unread 09-24-2003, 05:53 AM
mwild31
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

RebeccaAnn - be careful - Washington State has it's own set of laws regarding this issue and they often grant more consideration to the employee than federal laws. You should read through some of the Washington Employment Law Letters Online to enhance your understanding of the issue. Also, I'm including some information from the Washington State Human Rights Commission website http://www.wa.gov/hrc/employer/faq.htm#pregnancy that is fairly general, but may give you some guidance.

7. Can an employee be laid off or fired while pregnant or on maternity leave?
Not because of the pregnancy or related medical leave. However, if the employer is conducting a general reduction in force then her position may be included. The reduction in force must be based on business needs. Also performance problems can be addressed while the employee is pregnant.

8. At what time in the pregnancy must the employee stop working?
The employee and her medical provider decide when she must stop working. There is no standard time when a pregnant employee needs to stop working. If the employee is medically able to work she can work until she delivers the baby.

13. Can I expect to have my job duties altered to accommodate my medical condition because I am pregnant? If there were an abnormal physical condition, asking for a change of job duties is considered a reasonable accommodation. Changing minor job functions can be a reasonable accommodation. The employer does not need to make major changes in job duties in order to accommodate an employee. Follow the employer’s normal way of asking for a change at work.

14. Can an employer decrease an employee’s work hours because she is pregnant?
An employer must treat a woman who is pregnant the same as any other employee. An employer must have a business reason for changing the employee’s work schedule. If decreased hours are part of a reasonable accommodation request by the employee the request should usually be granted.











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  #10  
Unread 09-24-2003, 06:21 AM
deez
 
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Default RE: Termination of a Pregnant Employee

A PREGO JM! what the heck is a prego?!! I knew what you meant but I would advise you to refer to pregnant women in a different way even on the forum. Of course I have never been pregnant nor do I intend to be so maybe I am being overly sensitive on behalf of others and I should keep my mouth shut. What do those that heve been pregnant before think?
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