I am in central NY and currently 6.5 months pregnant. I have been at my job for a year now since July of 2017. My current issue is with my direct supervisor who happens to be the CEO as well as the HR director. Knowing their positions, I do not know where else to go.
As per the handbook, "Excessive absenteeism may include, but is not limited to use of sick time that exceeds sick time accrual rate, more than 2 absences in one month, or patterns of sickness that occur mainly on particular days of the week. Employees are encouraged to use sick time or discretionary time wisely. Employees may be required to provide a doctor’s return to work note for absences of 3 or more days."
Before announcing my pregnancy, there was no issue in my performance and I was not spoken to about anything like my attendance or anything else. Since the announcement, my performance has been nitpicked and I have been written up twice for attendance, regardless of reason why - even after explaining it was due to the pregnancy. They said that even before getting pregnant my attendance was an issue when I was only out for snow or bereavement. The second write up was immediately after being out for the week with a doctors note provided from my OBGYN and it is considered a final written warning before termination. As per the lead nurse at my OB, my HR director called and asked for medical records and emergency room records. Not once did I ever say they could call. I asked about future doctors appointments as I still have a few months left to go and I was told "as long as I have time and it is preapproved." When investigating my final warning, there were three dates mentioned on it. A date that was prescheduled for an OB appointment, a day I left early for vomiting and dizziness (known pregnancy issue), and the week out due to complications that my OB told me to stay home for the week to rest (I provided the note from the doctor as well.) When the week out was brought up, I mentioned that I provided a note as per the handbook and that this wasn't something that could have been helped due to the issues I've been having with my pregnancy. I was told that someone gave them information about my Facebook about how I was weedwhacking and playing with kittens. I was also told that I should watch what I post online as this has been contradictory to my story. Not any of it was true and no proof of the contradictions were provided. Though I was told "Facebook has nothing to do with your write up." I was also told by my direct supervisor she has limited what jobs are given to me because she never knows when I'm going to be here, which affects my job greatly as I supervise two people and I am not aware of any changes she makes for them.
I have documentation containing all of my absences and that my final warning was not called for as May and June were not excessive at all except for OBGYN appointments and my week off. I have proof that other employees have blatantly broken the rules of the handbook and were not terminated. I have have proof that other employees have been treated with respect and offered accommodations to meet their needs in times of issues related to their health.
Any advice? I cannot lose this job as the insurance for my husband and I are in my name and I still have plenty of prenatal appointments as well as delivery to go through.
1 Answer from Attorneys
This is appears to be a case of discrimination as outlawed under the Pregnancy Act and NYS Human Rights Law. There are attorneys in your area that should be able to offer you free initial consultation and perhaps you may also want to consider filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission or the NYS Human Rights Division; however, speak with an attorney first even if it means that you pay an initial consultation fee.
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