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Can my boss fire me without a cause while I'm 5 months pregnant? I live in Florida. I am a licensed mental health counselor.

Delray Beach, FL |

I work FT, on salary for the past 3 months. They hired me pregnant and said they would keep me on staff, even after maternity leave if I took a higher level director position, then the one I applied for. I agreed, was given a raise and maintained the position for 2f weeks when I realized that the company is very much out of compliance and operating things against standards. I did not want to put my professional license at stake, so I immediately resigned from the position and maintained my old position. I could not leave bc Im pregnant and already had health benefits. I believe I may get fired without reason. there is proof of any misconduct or dissatisfactory work. I'm 5 months pregnant and now it will be difficult to get a job. Can I hire an employment attorney and sue for wrongful term

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Although an employer can fire you when you are pregnant, they cannot fire you BECAUSE you are pregnant. In addition, based on what you described, there is some possibility that you may have a claim under the Florida Whistleblower Act. If you want to determine the validity of either of these potential claims, you should contact an employment attorney to seek advice regarding these issues.

Posted

If you have a discrimination theory about retaliatory discharge or hostile workplace conditions you'll need a lawyer. Religious belief, age, gender, race etc. all are discriminatory reasons for which you cannot be legally fired and upon which you might base a wrongful termination suit.

If you are an at-will employee, you can be fired for any reason or no reason, except unlawful discrimination. If you do not have an employment contract or union to represent you, your recourse is limited. Discrimination based on age, gender, race, religious beliefs etc.... may give rise to a different answer.

Posted

First, nothing has happened yet. So all of this is a bit speculative. You really have to wait and see what happens.

Second, you mention the company being "out of compliance." It's not clear exactly what that means. This hints at conduct that may be protected. In short, you cannot be fired for engaging in protected "whistleblowing" conduct. If you refuse to cooperate in illegal activity or you inform your supervisor about illegal activity, that is protected conduct. You cannot be fired in retaliation for engaging in such protected conduct.

Third, pregnancy discrimination. A company cannot fire you for being pregnant. That said, a company could fire you while pregnant provided they have some other, non-discriminatory reason. Nonetheless, if they fire you when you are 5 or 6 months pregnant and give you a bogus reason for your termination, then yes, you should consult with an attorney.

If you have any further concerns, please feel free to contact my office. I handle both whistleblower and pregnancy discrimination cases.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Pollard

My response to this question is a response to a hypothetical situation based on limited facts. I am not your attorney; you are not my client and we do not have an attorney-client relationship. If you need a lawyer, you should contact one in your area. If you would like to talk with me about your case, you can call my office.

Posted

Please be certain to consult with an attorney before you act in any way in reliance on an expectation that you will be protected by any "whistle-blowing" statutes. W-B laws are very narrow, and the protections are very limited. The provisions of W-B law in almost all states are very much different from what the general public often assumes. There have been so many failed W/B claims, it can just break your heart. Get specific skilled advice first.

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