(Closed) I got laid off. Is this legal?

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 2
1095 posts
Bumble bee

I would consult with a labor employment attorney ASAP.  It won’t get you your job back but they may be able to help negotiate a stronger exit package.  It’s worth a few hundred dollars for the consultation. 

Post # 3
7842 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

You should absolutely contact a lawyer in your area. I think you might have a difficult time proving it was because of Mat leave, as you had returned to work for 6+ months, but if you have your complaint and other supporting documentation I would still give it to the lawyers to decide. Call them up ASAP, I know a friend of mine in HR has also recommended not to sign anything (including compensation pkgs) because they often come with a nondisclosure or write the company off from any fault.

Post # 4
440 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

i just wanted to say i’m sorry to hear this.  it really pisses me off and i hope a lawyer can help you.  i had a project taken from me before my leave… felt like i was bullied on my leave…and have been largely ignored since i’ve been back.  luckily i’m leaving here soon!!!  

Post # 5
799 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016 - Wedgewood Las Vegas

Here’s my 2 cents….

Contact a lawyer in your area. That’s really the only way you’re going to find out if it’s legal or not.


If you’ve already signed the severence paperwork, you might not have any options anymore as you already accepted their terms. By signing and accepting the package, you essentially accepted their reason for letting you go.  I’m not in banking, but in my industry severence packages are usual, an usually come with some very specific legal conditions.

Secondly, you really have no idea if it was because of your maternity leave or not. You’d have to prove it, which will be near impossible.

Post # 6
2355 posts
Buzzing bee

 I’m curious as to why they were letting you go? What are the reasons they stated? As PP said above I think its going to be very hard to prove they let you go cause of maternity leave. Most companies are pretty smart about that now and usually cover their tracks.

And say you did hire a lawyer. What do you want from the company? Do you want to go back to a place you are not welcomed or valured?

Post # 8
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Did you already agree to and sign your severance package? The hard part is going to be proving you got laid off because you got pregnant and took maternity leave. That part is going to be near impossible, especially because you were still employed seven months after returning from leave. Also, the fact that your company has a very generous 20-week maternity leave policy is going to work against you heavily in your case. 

Post # 9
1282 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
PSUgirl08 :  does your company run on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year? If so, it makes sense that if they truly are restructuring, that they would lay employees off now so their books look good at the end of the year.

From my understanding FMLA only protects a comperable position, not “your” position. So I think you’re going to have a very hard case to prove, especially if they have generous maternity leave.

As it stands the fact that you were laid off more than 6 months later makes it even tougher to prove.

Post # 10
58 posts
Worker bee

View original reply
PSUgirl08 :  I’m sorry to hear this. That’s horrible treatment. Not sure where you’re from, but where I’m from, that sounds a lot like constructive dismissal (i.e. not outright being terminated, but having your position change/your job circumstances change so substantially, that you are essentially pushed out while still working for the same employer). No one can advise you about your rights in this regard because employment laws differ depending on the jurisdiction/state/province/country you live in. But I’m pretty sure constructive dismissal is a widely accepted legal concept in most common law countries (UK/Canada/US).

*this is general information*

Good luck!

Post # 11
2949 posts
Sugar bee

Depends on the state you’re in. But most states are at-will employment. So they can fire you because they don’t like the color of your hair. As PP’s have said, pregnancy is protected in the work environment, but it would be hard to prove it’s due to your leave. It’s just your suspicion.

Post # 12
227 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

You can always choose to get a lawyer, but I would tread lightly. Usually acceptance of a severance package includes a clause saying that you are in agreement and will not take legal action against them. The moment you bring a lawyer in to it, they can resend the severance offer. If you already accepted it, then you likely won’t have a leg to stand on. 

Most states are at will, so unless you have hard evidence that this was discrimination, I would take the severance package and find employment elsewhere.  It likely won’t be worth the legal battle, and you could end up without your severance pay and having to pay legal fees. 

Post # 13
840 posts
Busy bee

This happened to me… Discriminatory lay off based on gender… My province has a number you can call for legal advice… They sent me paperwork and I submitted a human rights complaint, which was accepted (it was blatant)… It sounds like you have documentation, if you’re in Canada I recommend submitting to your provincal HR commission… Stick to your guns, it takes foerever.

Post # 14
4696 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
PSUgirl08 :  this happens so often to women who have kids and go on maternity leave. Its honestly disgusting that in today’s day an age we still have to deal with this shit. You never hear of men taking off their wedding ring when going for interviews or worrying whether to disclose their marital and family status. They never get the interviewer thinking that they could be popping out another kid and will not be dedicated to the job. I also have had friends who have left high up jobs to be a sahm and been given the side eye for having a 3 year work history gap as a result in the interview. It sucks and I wish corporations stop making it all about the dollar and took a more people centric approach. You always get better return on a happy worker… 

Definitely seek legal advice and don’t sign anything as you may be able to negotiate a larger severance pay with legal help.

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