Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting life events possible—and possibly one of the most stressful. While excitement is the primary emotion, welcoming a new family member can also bring concerns about doctor bills, daycare and finances in general.
Knowing that your job is safe when you are expecting and—and with it the concomitant maternity benefits–can relieve a lot of the ancillary concerns. But what happens when you announce your pregnancy and your employer announces your termination?
When a company gives you the boot
A Florida company recently found out the price it had to pay when considering a woman’s pregnancy in extending a job offer. After several interviews, Nicole Purcell was offered a position with a brokerage firm in Daytona Florida. Immediately after she was offered the position, Purcell called HR, accepted the job and asked about maternity benefits.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, within a half hour, Purcell’s job offer was rescinded on the basis that the company needed en employee who could be there “long term.”
Enter the EEOC
Purcell filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and recently the parties settled the case for $100,000. So what’s the take-away in this case?
Employers must accommodate an employee’s pregnancy. In this case, it is noted that, had the company worked with Purcell regarding any limitations she might have due to being pregnant, and discussed how the company could offer any necessary employment modifications, the case might have been avoided.
Instead, the company was dealt a significant financial blow and Purcell was forced into looking for another job–consequences that didn’t serve the best interest of either party involved.