Can a pregnant employee be fired for a first-time incident?

UPDATED: Jul 26, 2011

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UPDATED: Jul 26, 2011Fact Checked

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Can a pregnant employee be fired for a first-time incident?

I was working as a waitress and am 8.5 months pregnant. I received a bad tip from a customer during the lunch shift. I was upset and posted a picture of the credit card receipt on to my Facebook account. The picture did include the customers name and last 4 numbers his credit card. An unknown person saw the photo and faxed it to my employer that night complaining that it was unprofessional. I was called into work the next day to talk with the managers and was fired. I believe I should have been suspended rather than fired; it was my first incident and I had never been in trouble with the company before.

Asked on July 26, 2011 Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that as an "at will" employee you can be fired for this or any reason (even a bad one); with or without notice. Unless you there is company policy to the contrary or an employment or union contract that provides otherwise, your former employer has broken no laws.

Additionally, no form of employment discrimination must have played a role in your termination; this includes discharge due to pregnancy. In fact there are several laws that apply to pregnant employees. However, you would have had to have been fired simply for being pregnant. This is not the situation in your case. You were fired for behavior which your employer found objectionable. So just because you were pregnant doesn't mean that you can't still be fired for other reasons.

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 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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