About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Employee told to continue working if she goes into labor, sparking fierce debate

Senior management told her in no uncertain terms that she would lose her job if she didn't wait for another manager to fill in.

Employee told to continue working if she goes into labor, sparking fierce debate
Young pregnant woman suffering from backache - stock photo/Getty Images

Editor's note:  This article was originally published on December 17, 2021. It has since been updated

Poor working conditions, poor pay and lack of protection for workers are at the heart of 'Great resignation,' a phenomenon that is seeing thousands of workers quit jobs across industries. A Reddit thread highlights why workers are up in arms across the country and shine a light on how workplaces treat women. A woman shared how she was pregnant and due to deliver. When she informed the company that she would have to leave for the hospital if she went into labor, she was told that she couldn't leave the premises until another manager relieves her of her duty which can take up to an hour or more.

Pregnant woman using cell phone and laptop in a boutique for baby clothing - stock photo/Getty Images


"So I'm a pt manager at a retail store. I am also pregnant and getting closer to having the baby. I was talking to my store manager today about the protocol of what will happen if I go into labor while at work. The key thing is that managers of any level are not to leave the store unattended if there are no other managers on duty. So for example, if it was just me and a cashier, I would not be able to leave the store without losing my job," she wrote.



She explained that the company needed to arrange for another manager to work with her so that they can easily fill in if she went into labor or had to go to the hospital. "Our store is small, so during the mornings, evenings, and nights we only have one manager on duty. I figured we would schedule other managers at the same time I'd work, as that would be the most reasonable thing for us to do to ensure a manager would always be there for the next few weeks," she wrote. The company then explained a detailed protocol that didn't really account for labor and was designed by someone who had no idea how pregnancy works. "I was told today that if I go into labor at work, I have to first call my store manager and then my district manager to either." She proceeded to explain the two options she had.



The options handed to her were ridiculous, to say the least. 

"1) Wait for another manager to come and relive me (which could take up to 1 hour and a half)

2) Get permission to close early, get all of the customers out of the store, close the store, and then complete the 30 minutes closing procedures before leaving."



She was incensed. "Wtf? How the hell is this legal, to try to put an employee in this position? I'm not just gonna hang around and wait to see if I make it to the hospital. Guess I'll just lose my job instead of me going into labor at work," she wrote. Reddit users slammed the company over its policy. "What if a manager had a heart attack while working without a manager? Or had a spouse or child in a medical emergency? Or got injured in a freak gasoline fight accident? Then what? This is the most bat shit crazy policy I've ever heard of!" wrote one user. Some pointed out that the lack of maternity leave was one of the main problems in America. "Most countries have 12-14 weeks paid maternity leave, and I don't mean EU, I mean Mexico," wrote one person. Another pointed out, "In Germany, you can't work 6 weeks before you're due and 8 weeks after."

Another pointed out that while America didn't have a proper maternity leave policy, it still had rules stating that pregnant women couldn't be discriminated against. While an overwhelming majority slammed the company, some still tried to fault her, claiming that a woman doesn't deliver a baby immediately after going into labor. She shot back, "I am aware of how labor works and I know the baby doesn't just come ripping out the moment labor begins. But there are many complications that arise during labor that can only be assessed and treated by medical professionals and not in a retail store setting. There is no reason for an employer to not plan appropriately."

More Stories on Scoop