Employer said "hide your pregnancy"

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by cantthinkofone, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    My fiancee just called me crying. She told me that her boss called her at work and said that she had to hide her stomach while she is pregnant and to stop talking about babies, pregnancy, or anything to do with it.

    I was taken aback by this. I work for a company who has a HR department. And i couldn't imagine what would happen if somebody said that to a lady at work.

    My fiancee works for a "company" who houses and tends to people with "special needs". AKA people with mental retardation.

    The current house she works in has a 20 year old girl who was sick with scarlet fever when she was 4 years old. Her mother ignored it. Now her frontal lobe of her brain is fried. She has the mind of a 4 year old and the coordination of a person on 1G of muscle relaxers.

    She is absolutely obsessed with babies, and getting married. She talks about getting married all day. And having a baby.

    I guess one of the other workers has become fed up with hearing about all of it and called to complain to the boss.

    Maybe the boss has had a ruff day, or is sick of hearing people complain, but she called my fiancee and wasn't very nice about what she had to say.

    She told me that she isn't allowed to talk about being pregnant, mention babies or pregnancy. Must hide her belly (she is 19 weeks). And they are not allowed to watch any tv shows that deal with babies.

    This is one of a few problems she is having at her job. I told her to tell them to back off or expect to hear from somebody from the state about harassment.

    She doesn't like the idea.

    We are trying to find her a new job because her working conditions are horrible. And i really don't see how this place is still in operation.

    The rabbit hole goes very deep with this company. The last house she worked at had 2 very aggressive men aged 21, and 40. One of whom should be locked away and listed as a child predator and sex offender. And the other needs to be in a mental institution for the rest of his life.

    Is there anything we can do until she gets another job?
  2. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    Telling her to stop talking about the pregnancy, getting married, etc is acceptable, but telling her to hide her stomach is ridiculous.
  3. K3mp macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2008
    S.E. Louisiana
    My mom works in that same field. She is not the worker but she assigns people workers to people. From what I have heard the families of the clients are mostly crazy and make the most outrageous demands. The hiding the baby part is really extreme but if she is at the client's house who else is there besides her and the client OR is the house a place where they all live and become janitors or some other no need to function job? I think the fam snitched.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Briefly, I agree with this. If your fiancée is a professional working in a field that deals with psychiatric disorders... if she is a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, LMHC, etc, and she's willing to be in this specialized area of that field, then managing things like obsessions and fixations is her job. It's perfectly reasonable that she be asked to do her job, and it's perfectly reasonable that she be asked to limit certain types of personal disclosure to patients. In fact, it's pro forma to limit certain types of personal disclosure to patients in most of our fields. In fact, it is so ingrained in our training that we often have to work to try to implement personal disclosure when the data says it's beneficial to our patients (which it sometimes definitely is).

    Being asked to hide her belly, however, is something altogether different and is absurd (not to mention a violation of the law, at least in the US). Totally agreed.

    Aside... there is a big enough need among people with cognitive impairment for tents that there is a company wholly devoted to selling tents to these people? What do they do with the tents anyways? Is camping a really big hobby among MR adults?
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Perhaps you were being facetious, but I think the OP meant "tends."

    Anyway, I agree with the others: it was unacceptable for her boss to ask her to hide her pregnancy. However, it sounds as if it might be in her best interests to do so.

    Although, if it's that large of a problem, it would probably be more reasonable for her to be reassigned.
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Agree and agree.


    Looking at things from a different, say outside the box, perspective, the boss may have meant that if it was possible dress so that it minimizes the pregnancy to help preclude the issues mentioned above in the thread. In other words, wear clothes that are loose fitting instead of those that make it look like a basketball is attempting to escape from your stomach -- which seems to be the thing these days. In other words, some woman want everybody to know that they are pregnant and dress to emphasize that point. Maybe the boss was trying to ask not to dress that way to help with the other issues. If that is the case, then it makes sense to me and if packaged right, will work with HR folks.
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    it may of been said wrongly but mixing the hiding the belly with the other things listed not to talk about does work.

    He does not want her talking about babys and marriage because as you said there are some clients there who have problems and that is all they want. So talking about it only makes it worse. Now seeing some one who is pregnant will also bring it up and is again not healthy so it is a good idea to hide it.

    Like it or not the request could be very legal in her field. They can not fire her for being pregnant but they can remove her from dealing with the clients until it is over sighting it is for the clients mental health. Standard labors laws do not apply in the mental homes like that.
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If your fiancee has to deal with a 20 year old who has a mental problem and is obsessed with becoming pregnant and having babies, maybe it's not a bad idea.
  9. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Document everything. Take notes of what's said immediately after she's told she must do this or that, while it's fresh in her mind. Contact local women's groups, bar association, etc. for recommendations on legal assistance. She really needs to talk with someone familiar with state and federal laws who specializes in sex discrimination.
  10. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2008
    Pandora, Home Tree
    She could try to take it to the EEOC. She would have a valid complaint.
  11. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    I'm not sure if anyone else has said it but..

  12. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    I agree. In most situations this would be a big no-no, but I think in this case it would be appropriate. Find another job anyway, however.
  13. ph0rk macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2003
    Pretty much what I was thinking.

    They aren't firing her, they are asking her to alter her style of dress during the pregnancy. (Though ideally they should offer a small clothing allowance for this, but that is rare). Special needs people have special needs - the baby-talk was about her life and not the clients, anyway. Some jobs will fire you for that whether or not it is about a baby.

    I doubt there is much room for a harassment case, I think they could pretty clearly show that remaining mum about pregnancy is a necessity in that line of work.

    Of course, if she is talking about baby stuff so much she is annoying coworkers, that could be a problem too. Pregnancy or not, don't piss off your coworkers. Your personal life is great, but shut up about it.
  14. cantthinkofone thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    This is about how this girls family is. They live about 30 miles away and try to run her life over the phone. The come to visit her a max of about 12 hours a year. This girl isn't that hard to take care of. She is about 5'4", 70lbs and sits and colors all day.

    i meant "tend". Sorry.

    I can understand that. The thing is she isn't wearing spandex everywhere we go. She usually wears one of my shirts, or a sweatshirt or hoodie. Yesterday at work she was wearing a hoodie. And she is very self conscious about her belly. She has done very well with eating and has only gained 4 pounds since becoming pregnant. Our OB said thats perfect and to keep up the good work just the other day. But she still feels bad about starting to show.

    I am so infuriated by this whole situation. Her boss has been nothing but trouble since she asked if she could be moved from the last house where she worked. Where one of the clients actually targeted pregnant women.

    I took her lunch one day and witnessed him trying to take her to the ground. I dam near came through the sliding glass door after him. But she managed to defend herself.

    The workers at that house were not allowed to do anything to protect them self's. You just had to take the beatings. The one guy who's life i came close to ending was also a carrier of Hep C.

    What i'm getting at i guess is i cannot believe they are allowed to run the business they do. The way they handle situations, the way they manage their employees.

    My fiancee is going to be a RN in about a year and a half. She already has experience with personal care from taking care of her dad who died from glioblastoma multiforma three years ago. But the other workers are just random people. Most of whom you wouldn't trust to baby sit your dog.

    There has to be somebody that they answer too at a state or federal level. Or i could just be used to having a good job. Where we answer to OSHA, and a hand full of other groups.
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    For now, walk away, and get another job quick, and let the emotions subside.

    In 2 years if she finds herself in a stable position, and still wants to do something ... then she can ask around and make some complaints.

    Doing it right now when emotions are hot, and future employment isn't stable might not be the best decision ... whistle blowing sounds nice until you find that somebody keeps calling all your new employers and telling them about the kinds of trouble you are.
  16. ph0rk macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2003
    The juvenile delinquent/halfway house "industry" is much the same - the government regulation is just a stagnant cesspool of bureaucratic slime, without any money available to actually regulate. Far better to be the one calling the shots than the one actually face to face with the clients, but that is much like other jobs.

    I'd expect the only places to have a nicer environment would be fully private hospitals/outpatient care places.

    (Unless this is one of those - in that case, don't go to a publicly funded one!)
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Yes, a well-crafted and thoughtful post, shot to hell by one paragraph. :confused:
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Ok, but this was at the previous house. You said this girl was easy to take care of, but was obsessed with getting pregnant and having babies. If she knew your fiancée was having a baby, would she become insanely jealous, or possibly take physical action and try to "take" the baby from your girlfriend while it's in her stomach? Don't think logically for a second. Think about the mental state of the girl she's working for. She may not act reasonably if she were to know that she was pregnant with a baby, since she wants one so bad.

    Although it does seem like your fiancee's boss is telling her not to tell people she's pregnant, and to hide the bump because he's being an inconsiderate idiot rather than for her protection, the side-effect may actually be beneficial.
  19. FoxInSox macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2008
    Try to look at it from a different perspective as well......

    People may indeed be happy for her.........maybe there is another worker or even a patient that has complained.

    I have had infertility resulting in an ectopic 3 miscarriages and a stillborn baby, not to mention 7 in vitro fertilizations ......sometimes at work you just don't want to hear someone else's baby talk. But it's hard to tell your co workers that. It's just not a place to do display it around people that have questionable issues they are dealing with. My husband is a paramedic and has transported a lot of people and they are on some strong medication. So your finance may want to wear some loose maternity wear. And maybe keep her happiness to her friends and peers. I know it's hard to see what others might be going through. But maybe the boss had to go to her. Thankfully I do have a beautiful little girl. But My other little girl died just a year ago and if your wife was putting all those TV programs on and I was working with her, that might be a bit more than I could take as well.

    Just my opinion........Hope my perspective helps. I'm not trying to be mean...But those pregnancy hormones are strong and she might not realize that she's being a bit too baby happy in the wrong setting.
  20. FoxInSox macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2008
    You are very limited in what you can do when you work in group homes etc with the mentally or physically ill. My husband was working at a similar facility. And he is a big guy. It may not be a good idea while she is pregnant to work their. Maybe she can work as a CNA in home care.

    You have to expect what you get for the money you are getting. I'm not saying that in a mean way.........I just know that my husband hated it. But every night was a new story. until he quit.

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