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Should It Be Illegal to Lay Off Pregnant or Postpartum Women?

Tough times call for tough measures and for some companies that means handing pink slips to even their pregnant and postpartum employees. While it may seem unethical, it's completely legal. A recent New York Times report said:

It may not sound fair, as the national layoff tsunami is swamping even households with new infants, or babies en route. But it is entirely legal to lay off a pregnant woman or a woman on maternity leave — as long as the employer can make the case that she is being let go for a reason unrelated to her pregnancy.

Do you think there should be a law protecting mamas-to-be or new mums?


Join The Conversation
shelleymonster shelleymonster 8 years
If someone isn't doing her job, she shouldn't be protected by pregnancy any more than she should be protected by her race, sex, religion, etc. It's always unfortunate when someone loses a job, and losing one with a new baby or one on the way is particularly rough. Any reasonable employer should realize that a new mom may not be able to give her usual 110%, but if the bare minimum isn't being done, let her go.
wonderwoman80 wonderwoman80 8 years
Under FMLA employers are required to put you back in your job or a similar job when you return from leave. Before or after that should be up to the employer as long as they are eliminating your position and it isn't related to your status as a mom-to-be or new mom. I agree with the other posts, people who have kids get layed off and men with babies get layed off, a new mom should not be treated any different.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I agree 100% with CG and macgirl.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
What's next not laying off people with kids, or people with more than 2 kids, or how about people that are single and don't have room mates? Don't they all need protection? We don't need to give people protection from losing their jobs, we need people to be motivated and not want to lose their jobs.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
It shouldnt matter, if they have reasons to fire them, no one should be exempt because of pregnancy.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I don't think anyone should get special treatment. To be honest, I don't think a woman should be fired JUST because she's pregnant, but if she's a slacker or doesn't do her job I don't think the company should hold on to her "because she's pregnant". Thats not fair to the non-pregnant women.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
If they get legal rights from being laid off than every working parent should have legal rights. They are just a worker, yeah it sucks if these women do get laid for for a reason other than their condition, but it sucks for everyone else as well.
schnappycat schnappycat 8 years
If they aren't doing their job well or the company doesn't need their position anymore, it shouldn't matter if they are pregnant or have a new child. Excuses of any sort (related to this or not) only go so far IMHO. When I was working I was really frustrated when all of the people in my department with kids got special leeway to leave early, come in late, and generally slack off. Some of it is understandable, but when it interferes with performance (especially when others have to pick up the slack), they should be treated like anyone else. You can't always have your cake and eat it too. But if they are fired willy nilly just BECAUSE they are pregnant, then that is probably wrong.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 8 years
Ugh, when I was on Maternity leave with my daughter I got fired - I found out through a letter from the insurance company saying I didn't have insurance anymore (which was fine because I get it through my husband) still it ridiculous but worked out and I couldn't be more happy to be outta there!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
My work JUST laid off a guy here who had a baby a month and a half ago. He was a good worker but they said it was because of "lack of work". The next week someone else was starting in HIS position! This has bothered me enough to not want to be a part of the company...
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