Is this wrongful termination?
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Is this wrongful termination?
A company hired me on Monday,I told them I was pregnant Wednesday because the job was very physical and I thought they should know. I was let go Friday stating the company couldn’t afford to have hired new staff in the first place. They are hiring again as I seen the ad on the same site they hired me from. And they refuse to provide me a termination letter with start dates,end dates and reason for termination. What can I do?
Asked on January 17, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
It is illegal to fire a woman because she is pregnant: this can be seen as either or both of anti-woman sex-based discrimiation (since only women get pregnant, discriminating on the basis of pregnancy is seen as anti-female discrimination) and/or anti-disabled discrimination (pregnancy is a condition imposing certain life limitations and can be treated as a temporary disability).
IF you cannot safely do the job, they could let you go for that reason: examples include jobs working with radiation or chemicals/substances a pregnant woman should not be exposed to, or a job doing things (like heavy lifting or climbing ladders) you cannot or are told to not do by your doctor while pregnant. In those cases, terminating you would be legal, since the law does not make an employer retain employees who can't do their jobs or who impose a risk of liability.
But that is not the situation you describe. Instead of describing a legitimate reason based on being pregnant that you cannot do the job, they made up a seemingly false reason: that they could not afford to add an employee, even though they apparently immediately tried to hire someone for the job you were just let go from. This strongly suggests that their stated reason is false and was just a pretext or cover for discriminating against you due to your pregnancy.
Under these circumstances, you should contact the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency about filing a complaint.
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