Pregnant Woman Is Fired For Needing To Pee Too Often. Yes, You Read That Right.

pregnancy discrimination

I doubt April Roller looked this content with a can of puke under her desk.

Today in misogyny in the U.S.A: National Processing of America, a call center in Kansas City, KS, is being sued for unlawful termination after firing a pregnant employee. April Roller lost her job because the company thought she took too many trips to the bathroom. Yup! Watch out, pregnant ladies of America: if you’d like to bring another life into the world, your job might be on the line.

As is common knowledge (but more in the news lately because of Kate Middleton’s hyperemesis gravidarum), pregnant women are often nauseous, especially in the early part of their pregnancy. Frequent urination, caused by both the increase in blood and fluids in a pregnant woman’s body and the weight of the fetus on her bladder, is also a common symptom. But neither one of these totally normal symptoms that often come and go over the course of a pregnancy should ever be cause for termination of employment.

According to WeTheParty:

On another occasion, defendant’s manager told plaintiff that defendant did not ‘pay [her] to pee,’ objecting to plaintiff’s necessity to use the bathroom when plaintiff experienced nausea or dizziness due to her pregnancy conditions. Defendant’s manager claimed to plaintiff it was not ‘fair to other employees’ for plaintiff to take excessive bathroom breaks. When plaintiff complained about being told that defendant did not ‘pay [her] to pee,’ defendant characterized plaintiff’s need to take bathroom breaks due to the conditions of her pregnancy as being ‘constantly out of her desk.

 

Roller was GIVEN A PERSONAL TRASHCAN to vomit into in order to limit her trips to the bathroom. I’m sitting here in disbelief at that particular fact. Does anyone else find that cruel and unusual (not to mention demeaning?) And, of course, having a pregnant lady vomit while you’re trying to do your job had to have been disgusting and awkward for her coworkers.  Roller was also reprimanded for wearing special shoes to accomodate her swelling feet, which is just ridiculous and unfair—do call centers have specific footwear rules I don’t know about? I mean, come on. What was she supposed to do? Quit her job, lose her income and go be barefoot and pregnant in a kitchen?

I do understand that companies need to remain productive, but it’s clear the treatment Roller received at her former employer was highly insensitive, prejudiced, and ignorant. The way that work culture in this country is set up makes it incredibly difficult for working moms to “have it all” (whatever that means!); It’s hard enough for a woman in America to make a living and be a mother without companies like this one treating them disrespectfully. This kind of institutional misogyny needs to stop, especially considering that women in America work and many of them need to continue doing so in order to provide for themselves and their families. That’s life, not something that needs to be accommodated.

We wrote about whether or not pregnancy should be covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act back in January, but readers were split in their opinions. I can see the value in legislation that provides special consideration for pregnant women, but I think it’s more important that our society move towards an idea of pregnancy and birth as normal physiological events that don’t need special consideration: just respect, support, and understanding. I don’t know how exactly we as a country might do that, but it certainly won’t be with the help of companies like National Processing of America.

It’s pretty obvious what I think about this situation, but what about you? Do you think this company was justified in firing April Roller or are is this a case of pregnancy discrimination?

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    • Somnilee

      I work in a call centre (not on the phones), and I know the phone based staff have VERY strict “call-wrap” targets, aka the amount of time you spend off the phone. In my company, this is equal to 10% of your time, or 6 minutes out of every hour.
      This applies to all staff, regardless of pregnancy – you go over that time and you have to have a meeting to draw up an action plan of how you are going to avoid doing it again.
      Call centre work is tough work, and while this story is saddening, the woman affected would have known what her company’s policy on call time was. There are multiple sides to this, and it doesn’t sound like an open discussion was had: she could have asked to be taken off the phones, or at least moved closer to the bathroom, among other things.

    • SusannahJoy

      I’m sorta split on this. Like Somnilee pointed out, most places do require that you work a certain number of minutes. It sucks if you decide to get pregnant, and then because of the pregnancy you can’t do your job properly, but if you can’t do you job properly, the company has the right to fire you. Even if that may be a a$$hole move. As a waitress I’ve worked with a few pregnant women, and while I was always happy for them and tried to help out when I could, it got really annoying when I was constantly asked to watch their tables while they peed/threw up/had to sit down/whatever. I had my own job to do, but if I said no, then I was being mean and unsympathetic to the poor pregnant woman. It sucks for the women who have jobs that they’ll have to risk losing in order to have children, and that this country could definitely benefit from better maternity leave, but ultimately, it was a choice to get pregnant in the first place.

      • Katana_X

        This is discouraging women to get pregnant. If companies want employees and clients in the future, they need women to continue having babies. Turn on the news, and you hear politicians talking ominously about the lowering birth rates (which is a normal phase of development, once kids become expensive and women are allowed to have careers). At the very least, the government needs to step in, because pregnant women literally keep civilization going. Everyone has a stake in this, but maybe the government should step in to subsidize companies in certain cases.

      • Quite Simply

        Are you fucking kidding? The last thing we need to worry about is the population going down.

    • Lee

      Actually no one should be split on this…it it a lawsuit and if this lady is smart she will OWN said business….Federal Law.In 1978, the U.S. government amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
      of 1964 with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It makes it unlawful to
      discriminate against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical conditions.

    • Cassie

      Sounds like there will be one more stay at home mom! She’ll never have to work again!

    • saphirajfire3

      she had a valid medical need. they clearly discriminated against her medical condition. she is pregnant and working. She showed up every day and did her best. They clearly knew she was in this condition and still thought it was okay to openly violate her . They treated her unfairly for her known medical condition. unless it clearly states and she was clearly told before accepting the job she would not be allowed to ever get pregnant and work their and if so she would have to leave it at the door when she got to work, that she could only be pregnant outside of work then it is clear discrimination. She still showed up and did her job daily. Their only complaint she pee’ed to much. They never said she called off all the time or she refused to work at all or wanted a lighter work load. she just had to pee a lot. She was also forced to work and smell her puke all day long and those around her were forced to smell it as well. its disgusting and not healthy to keep puke for long periods of time. it will make you sicker just smelling it.

    • baddog

      Are. You. SERIOUS AMERICA??!!! She was given a trashcan to vomit in, you did get that part right? So she can spew at her desk and what, wipe the vom off her chin and continue with the call? Sorry America, you are getting crazier & crazier if you can possibly justify this type of behaviour by businesses. This is beyond discrimination & in Australia would NEVER be accepted. Where are your ethics & humanity going, down the toilet? (pun intended). You guys are globally known for your intense hatred towards ‘the weak’ (I’m thinking of your public healthcare here). And now I can see how it got to that stage…..oh my….

    • Bat95ua

      I guess no one smokes in this office. Or one could argue smokers get breaks that non-smokers don’t get. You can split hairs, or you can be human. Ridiculous.

      • tes

        No kidding. Too often I’ve worked in places where smokers needed several breaks throughout the day while the non-smokers kept on working. Pregnancy is a natural part of being alive, smoking is an unnecessary habit.

    • jsterling93

      So if a person has some other medical conditions such a a kidney disorder they would also be fired? I mean that person didn’t chose to have a kidney problem but they will spend just as much time in the bathroom than this woman did.

    • Elizabeth

      What are Employers thinking? I mean seriously it’s no different with pregnant women having to pee and getting sick, and being accomodated by their employers; and being accomodated to injured or recovering employees, AND or soldiers recovering from their injuries or whatever they are recovering from in their respected branch of military, while serving their duties to the United States. Question, if a soldier was shot in the line of duty, and was recovering from their wound, and they are returning to their duties with accomodations and a medical condition, don’t the military have to accomodate them at their duties? If so do they throw them out of the military because they are too much of a problem. Like all the vets who were thrown out because they could no longer do what they used to, even though some could still carry forward with their duties

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

      Reprimanded for wearing special shoes? Not paid to pee? A trash can at a desk to vomit in? Are you fucking serious? The treatment of women in america, especially pregnant women, is insane. Of course, if she wasn’t reprimanded for all this, they would have reprimanded her for dropping calls or disturbing co-workers as she vomits in the trash can. I hope she sues the shit out of them.

    • anon

      if a dumb cunt doesn’t take mat. leave soon enough for her to do her job WITHOUT SPECIAL TREATMENT then she is a dumb cunt and deserves to be fired for failing to perform in her job LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WITHOUT SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR HAVING A VAJ you fucking feminist propaganda spewing globalist slave driver.