Former T-Mobile Employee Says That They Actually Made Her Use Vacation Time To Pee While Pregnant
Her doctor started to rightly express concern and so Kristi claims to have had “a long consultation with H.R.” T-Mobile asked for a doctor’s note for all these potty breaks, which Kristi provided. But the company still “was absolutely not going to pay me for going to the toilet.” T-Mobile told her that she could use the bathroom whenever she needed . However, she would have to clock out every time she did, consequently using vacation time and Family and Medical Leave Act (unpaid time off, just so we’re clear) to adequately care for her unborn child — per doctor’s orders. But even that profound injustice didn’t bode well for Kristi’s pregnancy:
It was all too much. I still wasnâ€™t eating, drinking and using the toilet like I was supposed it. I was getting sick. My blood pressure was sky high. I was stressed about the possibility of losing my job and my health insurance. I was stressed about not being able to take care of myself and my baby. And being stressed out was only going to make my pregnancy harder.
At the urging of her doctor, she finally took her FMLA full-time, a full seven weeks before the birth of her son. When she came back to work a month and a half later, T-Mobile reportedly fired her:
The reason? Â Rifkin says she was summarily fired after she failed to remove an extra-charge feature from a customerâ€™s account, the commission for which was 12 cents. She says the rare error occurred when she either forgot to remove the charge or removed another charge instead.
Kristi got no severance from her long-time employer. And the entire time that she was on the only federal maternity leave that isÂ granted in the United States, she panicked about the well-being of her family:
When I stopped working, we worried about our strained finances and how we were going to pay our familyâ€™s bills. But I had to do what was best for me and my baby.
I now have a very healthy son. But I wanted to tell my story because this is why paid medical and sick leave is so important. No one should have to go through what I did.
Like many women in her situation, Kristi has no plans to sue the company because it’s too expensive. (It’s also worth noting thatÂ TennesseeÂ is an at-will employee state).
But such stories, of which there never seems to be shortage of, are what make legislation like the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of theÂ utmostÂ importance. That way the next time an underprivileged pregnant lady needs to vomit, her employers will be forced to do more than, say, hand her a trashcan.
Bug your Congress about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act here