Q I used all of my leave days when I took time off to have my baby, now I'm ready to go back to work and my boss is telling me that I can't have my old job back, because they hired another women to fill in for me and they are very happy with her. My boss says I have been permanently replaced. Can they do that?
A Following childbirth, your employer must reinstate you the same way he or she would reinstate anyone returning to work following a broken leg, heart attack or other temporary disability of no less duration than yours. An employer must make reasonable accommodations to your disability, up to and including reinstatement in your old position, or something similar, unless doing so would be an undue hardship on the employer.
Q I've been working for a hospital as a department adminstrator for 11 years. My husband and I have been trying to have a baby. When I finally got pregnant, I developed pregnancy-related medical problems. During my medical leave, my supervisor said to some of my colleagues that he was going to get rid of me because of the increased insurance. When I got back to work, they told me what he had said. He doesn't know that my colleagues told me what he said, but since I came back, he has been on my case: he over-criticizes my work, he belittles me in front of everyone and is giving me more work to do than my colleagues. Am I over-reacting, or is what he is doing wrong?
A It is unlawful under PHRAct for an employer to discriminate against an employee with a disability (which may include your pregnancy related medical problems) because of uninsurability on the increased cost of insurance. It would also be unlawful sex discrimination to terminate you because of the cost of your disability unless all males with no less expensive disabilities were also terminated. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action.
Q I am a sales representative for a trucking company. I am responsible for soliciting new customers. Several months ago when I interviewed for the job, I was asked questions about my marital status, the number of children I planned on having and what my plans were about future pregnancies. After working for the company for awhile, I told my supervisor that I was pregnant. A few days passed and he told me that corporate headquarters considered my pregnancy a problem and that he had been directed to "deal with it." He also told me that he had been instructed to review my performance and find a reason to discharge me. My supervisor did what he did to try and protect his job. When he fired me, he even gave me a letter of recommendation that said my performance with the company had been satisfactory. Even if he is a nice guy, isn't what the company did wrong?
A It is unlawful under the PHRAct for an employer to discriminate against you because you are or may become pregnant. The fact you received a good recommendation does not change the unlawfulness of your termination, if it was because you were pregnant. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action.