No job to come back to after maternity leave

My company usually treated pregnant staff ok. It was after they returned to work
that the thinly veiled hostility and harassment would push them out. I noticed
that most women didn’t come back to work after giving birth or they didn’t last
long if they did. Usually they were laid off or put on “performance plans” until
they could be let go. During my pregnancy, tensions with another manager made me a
paranoid freaked out mess during the last 6 months. She was constantly undermining
me to my boss and the team I managed. Despite that, I worked all the way up till 2
days before I gave birth. My labor and delivery was terrible. 23 hours of labor +
4 hours of pushing, then I was bullied by my doctor into a c-section that ended
with a bladder tear and an infection that kept me in the hospital for a week in
excruciating pain. Two weeks after I was released I got a call telling me that the
company was laying off a large portion of the staff and that I would not have a
job to come back to after my unpaid maternity leave ended. I’m the breadwinner in
my house so we depend on my income to survive. Then they informed me that they
would not be offering me the same (or ANY) severance package as the other
employees that were laid off because they thought that would be seen as
“retroactive compensation” for the time I was on leave and collecting state
benefits. (we live in California) The severance was almost 3 months worth of pay!
I spent my entire 3 months of maternity leave completely stressed out, crying
every day, angry as hell, fighting with them over the semantics of the severance.
One day I’d had enough. I told them I was filing a complaint with the EEOC and
calling a lawyer… they finally caved. I got exactly what everyone else got,
which wasn’t much really. It paid for the $1,500/mo insurance premiums we needed
so we could retain health care coverage for our family. My husband eventually
found a new job with health insurance. It took me 16 months for me to find a new
job, making $15k less per year. We feel like we’ve been crawling out of a hole
ever since the kid was born in 2010. The emotional and financial drain of the
whole experience was incredibly difficult for my husband and I. It was like a dark
stressful cloud constantly hanging over what was supposed to be the bonding
experience of having a baby. We both suffered. Our marriage suffered. We’re on the
other side of it now. 5 years and two jobs later I’m finally making over what I
was before I got laid off. But it was a long hard road. I’ll never forgive that
company or those people. I’ll NEVER trust another company. I warn every expecting
mother I know to watch their backs. I personally know of three other moms who have
gone through similar situations. Part of the reason I refuse to have another child
is the fear of this happening to me again. I don’t think I could survive it.

Site Footer