Pregnancy related discrimination at work, what to do?
Last edited 23/11/2015 - 22:31
As everyone here supported so us so much during our difficult time, I feel like you all are our second family and thus another update.
- The most important one first, our baby is okay. My wife and I are really relieved about this and now look forward to a hopefully smoother pregnancy from here on.
- My wife also resigned from her job and currently taking a few days break. During this break she will decide if she finds another part time or a contract role or starts a small business (from home). She is already feeling better, started to eat and sleep better.
- One of the members helped explain the regulation about maternity leave payment from Centrelink in a private message. We had thought we lost all our entitlements when my wife resigned from the job but thanks to him, we will most likely be able to qualify for the 18 week payments at minimum pay from Centrelink. So if anyone else is in a similar situation where they are getting stressed out at their workplace while being pregnant, don't be afraid to change jobs or even take up a contract. The criteria to qualify for the maternity leave payments from Centrelink are more clearly explained on humanservices.gov.au website. Send me a PM if you need more information and I'll help explain and forward the information. As one of the members helped me out here, I'll be more than happy to do the same for someone else!
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for your support, suggestions and being with us in our difficult time. I might upload a link to our baby's photo when he/she is born :)
We went to see our doctor yesterday morning who has given stress leave certificate. We then had to go to the hospital in the evening as my wife wasn't feeling well and there could be a complication with her pregnancy, tests are underway. Taking this complication into account, we have decided that we don't want any more stress as the complication with the pregnancy has increased our stress by a several hundred times. Right now we feel that we don't want the maternity entitlements or money, we don't want justice or fight them for principle, we don't care about the wrongs they did. All we want right now is for our baby to be fine and healthy. This is a very hard time for us and we would like to sincerely thank the ozb community who supported us by posting suggestions and a lot of members actually posted links and details. I would also like to thank the members who went the extra step of sending me private messages and members offering me help with baby equipment. I'm really grateful to everyone here and I appreciate every single post.
We will be sending out the resignation letter tomorrow morning to them and if karma does exist then they'll get what they deserve or else they win and it's okay. Once we know that the baby will be okay, my wife has decided to find a contract or part-time job as suggested by one of the members. This is what we have decided.
We have learned some lessons out of this. If a job environment is toxic, leave straightaway and do not stay. I feel terrible because we made this decision of staying despite knowing this place was so toxic. We also learned that we should join the union from day 1 in her next job.
Thanks everyone once again. I really hope no one has to go through such challenges especially pregnant women who are exhausted and feeling sick as it is.
Hi OZB Community,
After spending days of stress, we reach out to you for general advise if any of you have ever experienced or know anyone who has experienced such discrimination and if they did anything about it.
My wife is pregnant and she notified her manager two weeks ago. Since that point on, she has been constantly getting intimidating emails from HR and her manager. They have started to blatantly discriminate against her. We believe their aim is to 'squeeze' my wife out the job by intimidating her so much and causing her so much stress that she has to resign.
We spoke to fairwork's general helpline and after listening to our story, they said it was discrimination and asked us to lodge a complaint. We feel that it is so unfair that she doesn't get any support and won't be getting maternity leave benefits if she resigned. However we are in such a stressed state of mind that we have decided to not worry about the few thousand dollars of lost maternity leave payments. But we don't want the employer to get away with this. So far we think these are our options:
- Resign and forget about it and have a happy pregnancy.
- Join the union and take this issue to the union.
- Lodge a complaint with the fairwork ombudsman.
- Contact and lodge a complaint with Anti-discrimination Board (We rang Govt. General and Legal advise as the number was provided to us by fairwork helpline. We spoke to a senior lawyer and he said it was clear discrimination and that we should contact the anti-discrimination board).
My wife has started to experience stress and anxiety and has not been sleeping properly and not been eating properly. We are worried that all this is severely affecting our baby. She has been one of the lucky ones to not feel nausea in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy but because of these events at work, she has been feeling nausea and vomiting as well because of constant stress.
Have any of you experienced such a situation or know anyone who has? What did you or they do? If we went through the path of complaint with union, fairwork or any other agency, she can't return to work and will lose her job, is that correct? Is it worth complaining?
We are normal and honest people and live our lives normally without disrupting anyone else's. We have never been in such a situation before and thus very confused and stressed out. Please note that we cannot disclose any details about the employer or how are they intimidating my wife but the discrimination is very blatant which is surprising because from what we read on the internet, most employers who discriminate against pregnant employees try to not make it so direct and obvious.
EDIT: Another option is to seek support of our doctor and/or hospital to get a certificate to start early maternity leave. She's just started her second trimester and it might be too early so not sure if doctor or hospital will help. Has anyone started a maternity leave so early? Because we know the employer won't support and co-operate, we need a medical certificate to support our claim to start maternity leave early. If the hospital gives us such a certificate as she is suffering from anxiety and insomnia, can the employer still deny the maternity leave or ask her to see like their own independent doctors? Thanks again.