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My friend was working for a franchisee for years and was a very loyal and needed employee going above and beyond the call of duty. When she was 5 months pregnant her employers downsized just her position because of financial problems. They gave her the number of another franchisee within the same corporation. She worked for them for almost a month and due to complications had an emergency C-section. My friend let the company know in advance that she was going to need to be off for maternity early because she was have a 2 month early preemie. 13 days later he didn’t make it. When she called to talk to her boss about when an appropriate time to come back would be, they no longer had a job for her because the
Asked on January 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
The issue is whether the claims of financial problems leading to downsizing or a lack of positions due to the holidays being slow are true or not. If true, it may well have been legal and legitimate to eliminate her position: a pregnant woman can be terminated or laid off so long as it is not because of her sex or pregnancy (e.g. if for "neutral" business reasons). But if the claims were not true and are just pretexts or excuses to terminate her, then this may have been illegal sex-based discrimation (since only women get pregnant, to discriminate on the basis of preganancy is considered sex-based discrimination) and your friend may be entitled to compensation for the loss of her job (e.g. an amount equal to several months salary and benefits). The true facts of the situation are therefore critical. A good place for your friend to start would be by contacting the federal EEOC to discuss filing a complaint: if the agency thinks there is something to the complaint, they may investigate the situation; and if the investigation bears out that there was illegal behavior, they may advocate for her and get her compensation without her having to hire her own attorney.
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