On behalf of Alan Lescht & Associates, P.C. posted in Workplace Discrimination on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
True story – well, to protect confidentiality, it’s true enough. This is the story of a nurse who had trouble getting pregnant, and once she did get pregnant, her employer only made things worse.
We’ll call her Nancy.
Nancy had a problem. She wanted a new job. Though the work was often very fulfilling, she’d had enough of her role as a PICU nurse. She wanted something new and different to do within the field of nursing. And, frankly, she was sick of the long hours on her feet and the night shifts.
So she set out to find one.
Now, given the hot job market for nurses, Nancy’s high performance in the PICU, and a great referral from a nursing friend and colleague, it wasn’t difficult for Nancy to find a new job as a nurse supporting neurosurgeons in a clinical setting. It suited her well – great pay, relatively fulfilling work, regular 9-to-5 hours.
This was just the type of thing Nancy needed, especially since she wanted to start a family.
But getting pregnant was Nancy’s other problem.
She and her husband had been actively trying to get pregnant for months. Now, they were going down the path of assisted reproduction, with the possibility of IVF looming in the back of Nancy’s mind. Nancy was starting to wonder whether she’d ever be able to get pregnant.
But, no matter how it happened, it would be their first child, and Nancy wanted that more than anything.
Nancy gets the job AND gets pregnant. Then she’s forced out.
At first, it seems like Nancy has solved both of her problems. Shortly after she finds that great new job at the clinic, a miracle of miracles: Nancy discovers she’s pregnant, no IVF required, just a bit more time than she and her husband figured they’d need to get pregnant with their first.
Ultimately, the doctor orders bed rest.
Fast-forward a few months: Nancy’s starting to show, which is great, but it turns out that this pregnancy won’t be free of some bumps and bruises. The doctor wants Nancy in for more-than-regular check-ups, to monitor Baby’s health and Nancy’s, which requires that she be out of the office regularly. Nancy’s superiors are supportive, but HR grudgingly goes along with it.
What can you do, right?
Nancy feels she has no choice but to quit.
But then, another couple months go by, and to protect Baby and bring it to as full term as possible, the doctor orders bed rest.
This Nancy’s employer will not accept.
HR refuses to make a reasonable accommodation and allow Nancy to work from home (which other employees at this clinic have done in the past) as per “company policy” and because Nancy hasn’t “been there long enough” (less than a year), citing eligibility under FMLA. (All this despite the assertions of Nancy’s boss that they value her contributions and want Nancy to keep working there.)
Ultimately, Nancy feels she has no choice but to quit.
Did Nancy try to game the system when she got pregnant? Or is she somebody who desperately needs legal protection?
You’re not alone. Things like this happen to people more often than it should. If it ever happens to you, talk with a lawyer who understands. Suing your former employer is one thing – but suing as a nurse is another. The healthcare field is a small world. We’ll help you walk through the pros and cons.