Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, but if your employer is acting out in response to the news of your pregnancy, things can get stressful. If you find yourself in a difficult situation at work because of pregnancy you must do what is necessary to protect your unborn child. If you are threatened or the stress of the workplace is affecting your health; speak with your doctor about what you should do.
Even if your health is not at risk and you are able to handle the harassment, you still have a right to take action. As a matter of fact, if you work with a company that employs 4 or more people, the harassment against you is not only unethical, it is illegal. What should you do to stop the harassment and fight for your rights?
Follow Official Company Policy Regarding Harassment
Your company should have a process in place regarding harassment. Report the complaint to the appropriate authority in your company (usually human resources) and put the complaint in writing. Also keep notes on the harassment and the response from HR once the harassment is reported. Reporting the problem to HR could be enough to solve the problem, but if not, there are additional steps to take and your written records will make your case stronger.
If necessary, file a charge with the EEOC. Unfortunately, filing this charge does not immediately solve your problem. The harassment could continue and if you miss time from work or quit because of the harassment, they are unable to award you money immediately. Mediation might be recommended, which can provide a quicker resolution, but you might still be forced to wait a few weeks. This can seem like a lifetime when you are dealing with stress, potential unemployment, lack of income, and pregnancy.
Take Action, but Stay If You Can
If your doctor has cleared you to remain in your current situation, you might be better off not quitting. Finding work when you are pregnant can be a challenge and you do not qualify for Family and Medical Leave from a new employer until your previous employer’s responsibility ends.
Nobody but you and your doctor can determine the best option for you to solve your harassment problem. Your situation is unfair, but you could create a worse problem for you and your unborn baby by quitting your job. In some cases, it will be better to bide your time, bite your tongue, and stay until you give birth. However, if you are facing serious harassment or physical threats, or your situation is creating health problems, any consequences of leaving your job are less severe than remaining in an unsafe environment.
If you have questions about harassment related to your pregnancy or you are facing harassment of any kind, we can help. Contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case