I was recently laid off 10 days after telling my manager I am pregnant. I wasn’t allowed to retrieve my personal belongings and when they were mailed to me some items were damaged

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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I was recently laid off 10 days after telling my manager I am pregnant. I wasn’t allowed to retrieve my personal belongings and when they were mailed to me some items were damaged

My employer gave me severance, but no notice. I was the only one laid off.
The reason for the lay off was because my role was being terminated. I know
I have no legal repercussion because it is hard to prove the lay off was
directly related to my pregnancy. My question is more about my irreplaceable
personal belongings they so carelessly packed up and shipped to me which
then arrived broken. Do I have any legal rights in regards to the damages
they caused? I am already so angry that in this country pregnant women have
so little rights can’t get another job because they will see I am pregnant, if I
can I will get laid off when they notice I am pregnant OR look at me as a
deceiving liar for not telling them to begin will, FMLA will not protect me
because I have no chance of hitting the one year rule at any job And who
can afford to pay 2000 a month for COBRA when you do not have a job??
How is that even a benefit? I am so beyond frustrated.

Asked on February 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal to terminate a woman because she is pregnant; since only get pregnant, that is considered sex-based discrimination. Even if they are calling this a "layoff," the fact that they only "laid off" a single person, a pregnant woman shortly after she told them that she was pregnant, suggests that the reason they gave is a pretext or excuse and that the real reason was your pregnancy. You should contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint. If the agency agrees that this may be discrimination, they can investigate and take action; your former employer will have the right to provide evidence that this had nothing to do with your pregnancy, but if they cannot support their claim, you may be entitled to compensation. Since it costs you nothing to contact the agency and you can do so in good faith on the facts you allege, there is no reason to not do this.
As to your damaged items: you can try suing them for the value of those items, but they are only liable if *they* damaged them; if they were damaged by the USPO while being mailed, the employer is not liable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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