Employment Law Corner

Fired shortly after announcing pregnancy

Fired shortly after announcing pregnancy

This case was brought before the District Court of Massachusetts by Christine Fiske, who sued her former employer MeYou Health, Inc., a company providing tools and resources to help individuals stay healthy, for pregnancy discrimination

Fiske was the company’s online marketing director when she informed her boss that she was pregnant.

From that moment on, according to her lawsuit, the conditions of her employment changed. She claims she went from being an employee in good standing to someone whose work was picked apart.  She also claims her boss said that the company would have to plan around her pregnancy to prepare for the possibility that she may not return after her baby was born. (Warning: Comments like these can come back to haunt you.)

Three months after announcing she was pregnant, Fiske was terminated. The company claimed her position was eliminated due to budgetary constraints — a legitimate business reason, the validity of which was bolstered by the fact that her job duties were then spread out among several existing employees rather than being reassigned to a single individual.

The federal judge who overheard Fiske’s case sided with Joyce’s argument and said her case could move forward.

So employers beware: Having a legitimate business reason to terminate an employee may not be enough to fend off a discrimination suit if an employee can make the argument that some form of discrimination played a factor in the decision.  Note: MeYou Health has since settled the lawsuit with Fiske. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. 

Sierra HR Association is your local connection and most reliable source for accurate and up to date information you need to manage your employees, grow your business knowledge and get access to help on people issues.  At our quarterly meetings learn about practical employment issues, and proactively deal with business and compliance related HR issues as they arise.  Keep up with changing legislation at our frequent Legal Updates.   As always we offer a discounted rate for Chamber members.  For more information visit www.sierrahra.org or call Laura Moriarty, SPHR at 530 573 0224