You're Pregnant? You're Fired!

Janelle Harris

pregnant bellyThere are so many emotions tied to the wonder of expecting a child: joy, worry, excitement, anxiety. In the case of two female execs at Virgin Blue, we can tack on frustration, anger, and alienation. After filing complaints calling the international airline out on the carpet for pregnancy discrimination, the women, who were interestingly enough part of Virgin Blue’s public relations department, were roundly rejected — and the Australian duo are taking their case to court.

Apparently believing that their high representation of girlpower among their staff absolves them from any possible wrongdoing, Virgin Blue bigwigs fired back against the claim: "We are one of the only companies in Australia with 50 percent female representation in our executive team." Hold your applause, please. I guess having a load of chicks on your payroll means you can’t be prejudiced pigs because that, like, never happens. Snort.

One woman came back to work after her maternity leave to find someone sitting at her desk, doing her job. The other was nudged out because her particular skill set was, ehem, no longer needed. The final drop kick to those already denigrating actions? At least one of the ladies was also subjected to inappropriate comments about her pregnant belly and her constant eating.

Wonder who would’ve said such a thing? I’m picturing a guy in a shirt and tie who looks like he too does his fair share of constant eating and could possibly be hauling around his own pregnant belly. But no one ever has the nerve to rub his gut and ask him how far along he is.

I mean, seriously Virgin Blue — and other companies who discriminate against pregnant women — two thumbs down for concocting yet another thinly veiled patsy for good ol’ fashioned sexism. No one checks in with Jeff from accounting to see if his new fatherhood duties will interfere with his workload or creates a plot to oust Bob from sales onto the streets when his wife has triplets.

There are so many minefields to avoid as a female professional: Is your blouse cut too low? Did you show too much emotion? And how many men did you have to knock off to get to this position anyway? Now with departments being sliced to a smaller size, corporate hounds are looking for any reason to give employees the boot — including procreation.

Has your job or school ever given you grief because of a pregnancy?

Image via sapienssolutions/Flickr

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