Did you hear about Sting, of the Police? He is facing a discrimination suit for firing his pregnant chef. Sting's wife felt the chef was taking too much time off for sickness when she became pregnant.
We recently included the lawsuit in our HR Strange but True! column:
Mrs. Sting Gets Stung by Bias Suit
Mrs. Sting doesn't come off sounding too nice, does she? If Sting and his wife are telling the truth, and it was really a matter of performance, one can't help but wonder if they communicated this to the chef. According to the BLR article, they claim that they came to the decision "after comparing her to another of their chefs and finding she became "redundant." "
But did they ever tell her that when they terminated her? It's a lesson to be learned I think. If the timing of a performance-based decision corresponds with a situation where an employee has certain protections--whether she is pregnant or has filed a complaint, etc.--it'd be wise to document everything related to her termination. Of course, it might be a stretch asking the "Stings" to document their chef's performance.
Still, it doesn't even sound to me like they explained their decision to her upon her dismissal.
Right--the "Stings" employed her for 8 years, then just decided to fire her for performance (while she was pregnant) and didn't give her a chance to improve? Even if their version is true, they come off like jerks.
Let me play devil's advocate. (and I'll preface this by saying I did read the article but I can't recall many of the details)
Are Sting's employees covered by FMLA? Does he employ enough people to be a covered employee?
I'm going to guess no, but if the answer is yes then it changes everything I'd say below.
So we have a chef. She's missing a lot of work. I would think being a chef requires the person to be physically at work. If she had a broken leg or some other non-pregnancy related disability would Sting and Company have treated her the same? I would guess so. Did they have a plan in place for when she was going to have the baby? A back up chef or some type of catering company? I'd guess she'd be out of work for at least 6 weeks. Were they ok with that?
If they have treated others similarly in the past, then where's the discrimination? Was this in CA? Does CA have specifid pregnancy discrimination laws?
Just a few thoughts. But personally, I do think it's a rotten thing they've done.