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Boss asks if he was wrong to fire employee returning from maternity leave.

Boss asks if he was wrong to fire employee returning from maternity leave.


"AITA for firing an employee returning from maternity leave?"

I feel like the devil right now, so I’ll accept whatever judgment you all have. I run a team of about 6 people. Our company offers a large amount of maternity leave, 10 months. One of my employees got pregnant recently, I’ll call her Jess.

Our team does project based work and in the period between her leaving for ML we finished up the project we were working on when she left, and started working on a project without her.

During this period, our team had to adapt to working without her expertise in certain matters. We adapted and eventually some of us developed the skills needed to do some of her workload.

The situation we have now is me, and 2 others split half the work that Jess used to do, and we hired someone new to come in to the team to handle the other part of Jess’s workload and then some.

This new employee came at significantly reduced cost, as he was straight out of Uni and we pay him a fraction of what Jess costs currently. Now Jess has come back to the team, but there is another issue.

Our firm has informed us that for some f**king reason we no longer have the budget for a 7 person team, and will have to let someone go. This news came about when I submitted the paperwork for Jess’s return.

We are 5 months into a project that should take an estimated 10 months, and my decision came down to Jess and the man we hired to replace her. The reason we hired a replacement, which is not normally what we do, is because we anticipated that for this project the workload would be far greater than our current capacity, which it is not.

As you can tell by the title, I chose the replacement. I did so for the following reasons:

  • Far cheaper, thus freeing up a lot more money than keeping Jess on

  • He was up to date with the project and we would be able to move forward seamlessly, whereas with Jess we would have to take time catching her up to speed on half the project

  • The clients already knew and liked working with him, whereas they didn’t know Jess at all

  • She has been out of the field for a prolonged period, whilst he has been here for the past 9 months, so she may, or may not, find it hard to adapt back to work life, whilst with him it isn’t a question

  • He performed his work better than she did hers and interacted better with the team.

Obviously, the ideal situation which I wanted was to keep both and not put a new single mother with no other job lined up out in the cold, but I had to do right by the team and firm.

I told her I’d write her a brilliant Letter of Recommendation, and that in a few months she could try and apply for a job at our firm, hopefully we’ll have the budget, but she snapped at me and told me not to bother, and called me a c$#t and left.

I know I sound cold and heartless but I had to be fair to both employees, not just Jess, right? AITA?

Comments, and legal advice...


YTA. Every single reason you mentioned was only true because she had been gone on maternity leave which legally CANNOT be a reason to terminate someone. Yet it is the cause behind everyone reason you gave. Be prepared for a lawsuit.


Maternity contracts exist where the new hire is aware that they are only employed until the maternity leave is over. They could have done that. They could have done so many other things. But they’ve opened themselves up for a lawsuit because she is 100% being let go because she had a baby.


Seriously. Good job OP, you “saved money” by keeping this other guy, only to get your company eventually sued right up the wazoo for wrongful termination. YTA. You should probably start looking for new jobs because your company will be rightfully firing you for the mess you just created for them.


You fired a new mom, and have to ask if you’re the a%$#ole? You are everything wrong with the world right now.

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