Pregnancy discrimination, Arizona

Yesterday, at 33 weeks pregnant and after over 19 months with my company, my employer brought me into his office and terminated my employment effective immediately. He stated that he was going to take my position (Manager, HR) in another direction and hire someone with 5-10 years experience. In doing so, he offered me a very small severence package (3 weeks paid and 3 weeks half pay plus medical through May) if I were to sign a Mutual and General Release Agreement. They tried to force me to sign it site on scene, but I didn't and have retained a copy to sign if I feel that the agreement is fair. The monies offered would not even get me to my due date, and at this point, how employable is an 8 month pregnant woman?

Since then, I have contacted the one other person in our small company's history (too small to qualify for FMLA) who was pregnant when employed. She was "laid off" two weeks upon returning from her maternity leave. She was offered a small severance, but was not forced to sign a release agreement as a contingency.

Without getting into any details, I have feared for my job since I notified my employers of my pregnancy. On August 16th, I received a title promotion and a 23% raise followed by a very strong performance review in September. After I notified my employer of my pregnancy, his attitude towards me changed more and more negatively, culminating in my termination yesterday.

Do I have a case? Do I have grounds to negotiate the severence they offered?

1 answer  |  asked Jan 4, 2006 6:04 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Pregnancy discrimination warrants investigation

You may have a good case of pregnancy discrimination. Discrimination on account of pregnancy is the same as discrimination on account of sex. Your performance evaluation and raise in recent months seems to contradict whatever reason the employer had for "taking the position in another direction." The first step in pursuing a pregnancy discrimination claim is to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This may give you additional leverage to negotiate a better severance package.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jan 5, 2006 12:11 PM [EST]

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