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Old 28.06.2011, 09:42
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Fired for being pregnant

Hello all,
I have been on your site to get answers to all my questions since I arrived here from London this January, but haven`t been able to find answers to this one...

I started a new 9 month contract job a month ago and although i did not disclosure the 11 week pregnancy at the interview (also because I did not have to), I did so on the 2nd day of working there. I also told my intentions of staying for the whole term of the contract and not taking advantage of any maternity benefits and back at work asa humanly possible (even working from home, without a need for temporary replacement since living so close to work).

Although the immediate reaction was that everything was going to be ok and we are all mothers, 4 weeks later I was told that I was fired and that they wouldnt have hired me had they known about the pregnancy.

I am aware of the rights in the UK and even on contract, the reason for dismissal is unacceptable, but not sure of the employment rights in Switzerland. I understand their concerns but I am also bit lost and upset, cause had they told me so in the beginning, I would have accepted a 5 month job contract instead, and not being pregnant, fired and now unemployable.

Thank you in advance for your input...
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Old 28.06.2011, 09:52
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

Just to understand the situation better:
- did you accept a 9 month contract when you were 3 months pregnant or were you 3 months pregnant by the time the contract started?
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:01
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

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I understand their concerns but I am also bit lost and upset, cause had they told me so in the beginning, I would have accepted a 5 month job contract instead, and not being pregnant, fired and now unemployable.

Thank you in advance for your input...

I'm a bit confused, how could they have told you in the beginning when you didn't tell them in the beginning that you where pregnant???

Yes it sucks what they did, but imho, you did exactly the same to them, you withheld important information that would have had a baring on them hiring you, and you knew it.
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:02
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

Ok I'll play the Devil's Advocate here.

You accepted a job being 3 months pregnant for a contract of 11 months. Even being super woman, it is no way you can give birth and not missing a single day for it.

Now, let's assume I am a company. I would be mad mad mad to have someone who hide the pregnancy and who will, in 6 months into the contract, have to stop for giving birth and some time off (believe me, you'll need to have some time off, even if it was just a week).

So they fired you. I would probably do it too. Why? Because you lie to them. You certainly knew they wouldn't have hired you if they knew you were pregnant, don't you?

It sucks you got fired, but you can't possibly be surprised if you put yourself in their shoes, right?

Nil
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:58
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

The ususal protection (no firing pregnant women, art. 336c OR) does not apply here, as you have a fixed-term contract.

On the other hand, terminating fixed-term contracts is usually illegal (art. 334 OR etc.), unless there are extraordinary reasons (theft, mobbing etc).


So there might be some possibility to negotiate with your employer. But you'd certainly need a lawyer for that. If you want to go there, that is.
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Old 29.06.2011, 10:12
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

If you are looking for a lawyer, try these guys,

Dietrich, Baumgartner & Partner
Nüschelerstrasse 31
P.O. Box 3580
CH-8021 Zürich
Switzerland

T +41 44 217 47 47
F +41 44 217 47 00


They re very good and wont be wasting your time nor your money!
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Old 29.06.2011, 10:26
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

As the OP has no possible claim in CH, I suspect time & money will indeed be wasted!

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They re very good and wont be wasting your time nor your money!
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Old 29.06.2011, 12:57
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

I would suggest you consider/check two things prior to contacting the lawyers and pontentially spending money:
1. check your current working for trial period specifications - pregnant women are not protected from contract termination in trial period. The employer can terminate the contract anytime during the trial period.
2. according to the swiss law, you are not allowed to work for 8 weeks after the delivery of your child. It would be illegal for your employer to let you work.
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Old 29.06.2011, 13:05
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

Welcome to the forum
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Old 29.06.2011, 13:08
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

Check this decision:
http://gastrorecht.ch/index.php?opti...2-a&Itemid=401

But as was already mentioned, if your contract contains a trial period, you may be out of luck. In any event, it makes sense to have an employment lawyer look at your case.
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Old 29.06.2011, 13:50
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

If you were 3 months pregnant at the time...... How did you intend to honour a short term 9 month contract?

I think getting fired for that is acceptible given the length of the contract and your condition.

Had you disclosed that information at the start, I'm quite sure you would not have been offered the job in the first place.


If it was a long term position, then I could sympathise with you.
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Old 29.06.2011, 14:08
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

It is harsh but I do think you have brought it on yourself. By law you cannot work for 2 months after giving birth - but you probably didn't know that.

I don't think speaking to a lawyer will help. Taking a 9 month contract knowing in all probability you cannot fulfill it underminds all the other points. You will almost certainly lose the case and have a big bill to pay.
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Old 29.06.2011, 17:37
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

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Had you disclosed that information at the start, I'm quite sure you would not have been offered the job in the first place.
The issue is that she most likely did not have to disclose being pregnant, since the Gender Equality Act prohibits discrimination against women in case of pregnancy...
http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/151_1/a3.html
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Old 29.06.2011, 17:58
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

don't know if this can help. this is the brochure (in English) edited by Travail.Suisse (which is an organisation that defends workers' right)
about your rights and duties at work about pregnancy.

http://www.travailsuisse.ch/fr/syste...M_e_webA_0.pdf
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Old 29.06.2011, 19:19
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

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Hello all,
I have been on your site to get answers to all my questions since I arrived here from London this January, but haven`t been able to find answers to this one...

I started a new 9 month contract job a month ago and although i did not disclosure the 11 week pregnancy at the interview (also because I did not have to), I did so on the 2nd day of working there. I also told my intentions of staying for the whole term of the contract and not taking advantage of any maternity benefits and back at work asa humanly possible (even working from home, without a need for temporary replacement since living so close to work).

Although the immediate reaction was that everything was going to be ok and we are all mothers, 4 weeks later I was told that I was fired and that they wouldnt have hired me had they known about the pregnancy.

I am aware of the rights in the UK and even on contract, the reason for dismissal is unacceptable, but not sure of the employment rights in Switzerland. I understand their concerns but I am also bit lost and upset, cause had they told me so in the beginning, I would have accepted a 5 month job contract instead, and not being pregnant, fired and now unemployable.

Thank you in advance for your input...
Ok, somebody please correct me if I am wrong:

The situation is that you were 11 weeks (approx 3 months pregnant) when you took on the 9months contract, which means that you would have popped approx 6 months into the job, with a remaining 3 months to serve out.

No matter what you said about not wanting to "take advantage" of the maternity benefits - unless you take a day off to give birth and come back into the office the VERY NEXT day, you ARE in fact taking advantage. You can paint it however you wish, but you will need to take at least 1-2 weeks off in order for you to physically recover from childbirth and establish a routine with the baby.

Sorry but I think its very cheeky of you not to have disclosed that fact - especially if its for a FIXED contractual period. The job probably required very specific deadlines to be met and certain tasks to be completed which is why they fixed it at only 9 months. Having someone take 1-2 weeks (minimum) off, is going to throw alot of things out of schedule.

You are better off trying the soft approach - say that you are really sorry that you didnt inform them and if there is anyway you can discuss this and work out possible solutions.
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Old 29.06.2011, 19:40
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

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The issue is that she most likely did not have to disclose being pregnant, since the Gender Equality Act prohibits discrimination against women in case of pregnancy...
http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/151_1/a3.html
All very well and true and discrimination should not occur.

I'm sorry about the situation but,

For my 2 cents 'tho I'm afraid this rings of a "poor me" "society owes me" mentality... What happened to people being honest and up front? You're pregnant, congrats! But not disclosing it until a couple of days later because "you didn't have to" on a short term contract... I'm with Nil, I think is totally irresponsible and immoral and now looking for terms for unfair dismissal? Meh!!

I know I'll get groans over this, but what the hell has happened to the human race? I personally believe in being clear fair and up-front in all business and certainly wouldn't moan if I wasn't.

Like afore mentioned, if it was a long-term position, all good and fair but for a short placement you couldn't fulfil your side of the contract... all I can say is it's lucky the laws about discrimination exist!!! Entering into an agreement you know you can't honour is disgusting under any circumstance! That could leave a small innocent operation (and there are still some) high and dry!
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Old 01.07.2011, 10:07
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

Being pregnant is just another circumstance that happens to a human being. You can't exclude that person from the job market.
Just because the contract is 11 months long does not mean she cannot take it. She could have any other illness or accident that hinders her from being able to finish that contract or to complete it without a day.
IMHO as long as she is able to fulfil her job she should be on the contract.
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Old 01.07.2011, 10:47
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

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Being pregnant is just another circumstance that happens to a human being. You can't exclude that person from the job market.
Just because the contract is 11 months long does not mean she cannot take it. She could have any other illness or accident that hinders her from being able to finish that contract or to complete it without a day.
IMHO as long as she is able to fulfil her job she should be on the contract.
But she didn't become ill or have an accident AFTER signing the contract. She was already well and truly pregnant when she did so, and she knew it.
She ist not 'excluded from the job market' but probably she would not have been offered this particular job which involved fulfilling a 9 month contract when it was clear she will be unavailable for some of this time.

Last edited by Longbyt; 01.07.2011 at 12:27. Reason: contract was 9 month, I wrote 11
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Old 01.07.2011, 11:20
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

I feel for the op, she is in a difficult situation, however she has brought some of this additional pressure and awkwardness on herself, which I'm sure can't be good for her or the baby.

Anyway, 2 bits of information which I found. This is an article which was published in the Aargauer Zeitung on Wednesday english version regarding pregneant women in the workplace and the second is Mama Agenda (english version) which has information for expecting mothers etc.. (I haven't actually fully studied these sites) I hope maybe for the OP or indeed for other expecting mothers which will come accross this thread that they can get some information from these two sources.
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Old 01.07.2011, 12:14
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Re: Fired for being pregnant

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Being pregnant is just another circumstance that happens to a human being. You can't exclude that person from the job market.
Just because the contract is 11 months long does not mean she cannot take it. She could have any other illness or accident that hinders her from being able to finish that contract or to complete it without a day.
IMHO as long as she is able to fulfil her job she should be on the contract.
Thanks for the groan I see you miss the point entirely:

She CAN"T fulfil the job as she won't be there for the required time to do it and this is something she knew BEFORE the contract signing not an un-forseen circumstance! No-one is suggesting for a second she should be excluded from the job market... more to the point she should stop booing about being caught out and trying to seek recompense from a situation she was fully aware of.
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