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Woman tells friend to keep pregnancy a secret at work, she doesn't, loses promotion.

Woman tells friend to keep pregnancy a secret at work, she doesn't, loses promotion.


Sadly, we live in a world where women are penalized in the workplace for getting pregnant. Studies have shown that men often earn more as fathers, while mothers earn less as mothers (even if they're still working the same hours), due to cultural bias and a lack of protections in many places.

On paper, it makes sense to let an employer know you're pregnant ASAP, in order to give them ample notice before you take maternity leave. However, given the potential professional repercussions, it's sometimes wisest to hold off on the announcement as long as possible.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for telling her friend to keep her pregnancy under wraps in the workplace.

She wrote:

AITA for saying “I told you so” to my friend after her boss is being weird now she’s told them she’s pregnant?

A close friend of mine (Mary) is 3 months pregnant. I am very excited for her and looking forward to being an Auntie to her child. However, I did warn her that since she has a promotion expected to come up in the next 2 to 3 months she should not tell her supervisor or bosses that she’s pregnant until the latest possible time required in her contract (which would be 7 months).

Anyway, she told her supervisor. He asked when she’s going to tell the boss and she admitted to him that she wants her promotion and raise so she’s not saying anything until later. This was Friday. She told me this at the weekend and I told her she was foolish to mention it and that she would find her promotion becoming tenuous and maybe wouldn’t get good work.

So this morning apparently her supervisor asked her when she’s going to tell their boss again. Supervisor said he needs to be able to hold interviews to replace her asap and she also got removed from a long term matter that she was working on the last 2 months.

She called me to complain/for advice and while I did listen to her I also said “Well I told you to expect this if you said something so I’m not sure what you want from me now.”

Mary got super mad and called me a sh***y friend and said I should be sympathetic to her instead of telling her off and making her feel worse. Am I TA?

The Reddit thread quickly filled up with advice and hot takes.

Dull_Impression_8014 wrote:

NTA. I think it's ridiculous to ask for advice after directly going against your first advice. I feel it is common sense to expect some pregnancy discrimination in a job.

Edit: People keep trying to tell me that it is bad to discriminate against pregnant women. I am aware of this. I am not saying the situation is fair. I also do not believe in making an activist out of a pregnant women. Suing would be good, yes, but that is also a lot of stress. If she is up for it though, there are probably resources all over the internet for that. Maybe OP can tell her she should sue.

Weak_Construction_85 wrote:

NTA as a GOOD friend you told her the unfair practice and she still did it and is then whining at you.

Wise-Virus99 wrote:

NTA, what you gave was sound advice, and now she is being discriminated against due to being pregnant. Your friend needs to follow up on this conversation with an email to get a paper trail started ASAP. She needs to send an email follow-up to the person(s) she has informed of her pregnancy like:

'Following up on our discussion on [Month, day, year], I told you that I was x months pregnant; shortly thereafter, I was removed from project X and told to train my replacement. I plan on working until I deliver, then return quickly after I have recovered. As per [law], it is illegal to discriminate against pregnant women.'

'I hope that my pregnancy will not interfere with the promotion that I was told would take effect in [month, year]. Please do not spread rumors of my pregnancy, that is private and I will announce it on my terms within the timeframe given by company policy.'

'Further, I would appreciate being reinstated to work on project X; I can take a smaller role in the project when my due date is nearing, but please do not deprive me of the credit and experience I gain from the work I have already done on project X.'

Your friend needs a paper trail proving she disclosed her pregnancy ASAP. Since there is no proof she shared that info with the company, they can demote, pass her up for promotion, or fire her as soon as the replacement is trained. Since I don't know where you live, I don't know what laws you have protecting pregnancy in the workplace, that's why it says '[law].'

If she can access one, I'd say go to an employment lawyer for advice since they immediately reacted by removing her from a project and asking her to train a replacement. Otherwise, still do the paper trail with the email and then immediately contact HR. The company is already preparing to get rid of her, she needs to move fast.

Disastrous_Sea4150 wrote:

NAH. Going against your advice and then coming to you to complain about it when it turned out poorly just the way you said it would is understandably frustrating (though it’s not bad enough to make her an AH) and I won’t fault you for your initial reaction. But if you want to be a good friend you should help her look into ways to stop this.

This type of s***y workplace misogyny can’t be allowed to play out. Not sure where you live but discriminating against women due to pregnancy is often illegal. She should go to HR or seek support from her union. Edit: changed judgement from N T A

Broad_Respond_2205 wrote:

YTA and so is the boss (assuming he's indeed going to cancel her promotion). That's illegal and also quite sh**ty. I also have no idea what's the issue, they're going to replace her during her maternity leave?

Relevant-Biscotti-66 wrote:

'So I’m not sure what you want from me now'

Maybe she wanted to vent about being discriminated against at work? Because you’re allegedly friends? Have you never had a conversation where you don’t need the practical advice but just want to rant for a bit? Not every interaction needs to be a concrete problem solving session.

I understand the initial advice, but unless she is habitually asking you for advice and then ignoring it, it’s petty AF to be like “sure you’re dealing with some garbage circumstances and also let’s not forget that your faith is humanity was wrong and I was wrong”. You’re allowed to have some grace in the situation and let that part go unsaid. YTA.

After receiving lots of feedback, OP jumped on with some clarifying updates.

EDIT: I've seen a lot of comments assuming this is a place with laws to protect against discrimination during pregnancy. It is not. There is a new law coming into place to provide that but it’s not enforceable yet.

Also don’t know why it’s a debate but yes it’s absolutely possible for people not to notice someone is pregnant even in the 3rd trimester - how big you/your bump are, how you carry the weight, how you dress all come into it. I have personally had multiple family members not know they themselves were pregnant until they were basically full-term.

While people can't fully agree on whether OP is TA or not in this moment, it's clear that her friend's boss is the real AH.

Sources: Reddit
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