Posted by: Amanda | June 29, 2007

Working Woman Woes

Yesterday my supervisor spoke with me concerning my position and maternity-related issues. The maternity issues did not strike me as being the meat of the conversation so much as, “We were thinking that maybe we need to find a man to fill the position, so let us know whether you think you are capable of doing x and y.” “X and y” being fleet-related tasks.

So questions began racing through my head: If I decide that I am not capable of doing “x and y” does it mean that I “quit” this job, thereby making me ineligible for unemployment? If this is not the case, will I be eligible for unemployment although I would have been going on maternity leave? I am getting a feeling that I may not be able to win in this situation. J.R. thinks that it sounds like sexual discrimination, afterall, I have been doing the job for over six months without having ever heard a complaint concerning me (or my abilities) over the course of my employment. I had a whole mess of questions going through my mind related to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well, but then I realized that no amount of worry is going to help the situation. God will take care of J.R. and I, one way or another, He always does.

When I spoke to J.R. at lunch time, he could tell that something was bothering me. Since the something that was bothering me was work, and I was sitting in my cube (where anyone nearby could hear me), I would not tell him what was bothering me. J.R. went through a list of things that could possibly be wrong: “Is work getting to be too much for you?” “Do you think that you’re in labor?” “Did something happen to someone in your family?” He guessed lots of different things, and by the time he guessed correctly, I had realized that even if the morning’s conversation with my supervisor was bothering me, my life was not looking nearly as dreary as it could be.

So, here I sit, pondering an uncertainty that I would rather not be pondering, particularly with everything else that is on my plate right now. I had planned on working up until my due date, taking my maternity leave, and returning to my job afterwards, should J.R. be unable to find something more stable and better paying between now and then. Actually though, I am doing pretty well. Sure, I’d rather not have to establish myself in a different occupation if needed – but I knew from day one that this job was only temporary. Sometimes we become motivated to move on to something else (another part of God’s plan for our lives) only when we are forced to, and if our lives had not had the upset with which to motivate and teach us, we may have never bothered. Yes, I find myself in a inconvenient situation potentially, J.R. and I may face a great deal of stress before everything is said and done, but I know that God will provide; we will be fine in the end.

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Responses

  1. It does sound to me like your employer is looking for a way around pregnancy and childbirth discrimination laws. You’re entitled to be treated the same as any temporarily disabled employee – so, for example, if you couldn’t do certain tasks for a limited amount of time, he’d be required to find you alternate tasks and keep your position. But if you cannot do tasks that are part of your job description in the long term or permanently, he is not obliged to keep you on.

    http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/workersrights/rightsatwork_e/disc_pregnancy.cfm

    If I were you, I’d consult with a someone who knows about such things – I’m sure most women’s rights organisations would love to inform you of your rights – and don’t give your boss an answer to the “can you do x or y” question until you know what that means.

    And I suppose you could just ask him straight up whether your inability to commit to x or y will be considered a resignation – and get the answer in writing and signed.

  2. Thanks, Kate. I am going to contact an Equal Employment Opportunity officer early next week to discuss my situation and determine my next step.


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