It can be nerve-wrecking to tell your boss that you’re pregnant, but Amy Zvovushe never thought she’d be fired for it. The 31-year-old had a new job as a senior program manager at a marketing company in Connecticut and when she told her employer she was expecting they asked her to resign, rather than offer her maternity leave, which, under the federal Family Medical Leave Act an employee must work a full year to be eligible.
Luckily, Amy didn’t take her boss up on the request. After she was told she’d lose her job if she took time off, she had a conversation with human resources. According to ABC News, she recorded the discussion without informing them, and caught several shocking statements on tape, including this from an executive:
“You don’t receive protection under FMLA so technically if you don’t come to work … it doesn’t matter whether you’re having your appendix out or you’re having a baby or you’re dealing with a sick person you didn’t show up for work on Monday.”
When Amy’s attorney, Jack Tuckner, contacted the company, they agreed to grant her leave to care for her baby. “Because they were able to fix it, they say no harm, no foul,” he said.
Unfortunately other women aren’t always so lucky. There are reportedly thousands of women who are fired for being pregnant each year, a move Dina Bakst, a lawyer and founder/president of A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, wrote in a NY Times Op-ed stems from a gap between discrimination laws and disability laws for the injustice.
“Federal and state laws ban discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. And amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees (including most employees with medical complications arising from pregnancies) who need them to do their jobs. But because pregnancy itself is not considered a disability, employers are not obligated to accommodate most pregnant workers in any way.”
Dina has made a call to action and acknowledged that seven states have passed laws mandating private companies make at least some accommodations, but according to her there is still much to do.
Check out the tape of Amy Zvovushe’s conversation with her employer. Did you have a hard time getting maternity leave when you were pregnant?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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