Not long after my wife informed her Lead she was pregnant, the Lead sat her down and encouraged her to consider quitting in order to be with the family. We plan to go to the HR department about this soon. I will detail out more context below, but to cut to the chase I just want to know a) Has the Lead actually broken any laws by encouraging my wife to quit in order to be with family and b) are there any other obvious next steps we could be taking?
No serious adverse actions have been taken against my wife yet other than that her superiors had a performance meeting with her and treated her as though she was guilty of doing a poor job, and now they are monitoring her closely.
- Wife tells Lead of pregnancy.
- Lead meets with wife to encourage her to quit and spend time with family.
- Lead visibly upset when my wife explains she wants to keep working.
Wife later inquires whether there were any issues with her performance. Lead says no and specifically clarifies that the conversation was really only about her concern for my wife's well being with raising her children.
Lead asks direct reports to video tape themselves working with the idea that they will receive constructive criticism.
- At the same time Lead shared constructive criticism with my wife, criticisms were also emailed to their Supervisor, before any opportunity was given to make improvements based on criticisms.
- Lead met privately with Supervisor and scheduled performance meeting with my wife.
- Lead's Supervisor asks if my wife had since shown improvement. Lead responds yes.
- One a prior day Lead instructed my wife to observe Lead as Lead worked and take notes. In the meeting, Supervisor berates my wife for taking notes instead of working. Lead fails to speak up and share that my wife was following direct instructions.
- Lead and Supervisor give criticism over petty points found in work video my wife was asked to make. Imagine reprimanding an Algebra teacher for not stopping to teach students basic addition every time they made an adding mistake (and imagine that many of same teacher's students from prior years generally qualified for advanced classes). It was something that, if my wife had stopped to do it, they could have just as easily accused her of not accomplishing the thing which she was actively working on. Basically, it feels very much like the whole thing was a planned attempt to contrive evidence against her rather than a genuine attempt to provide constructive criticism.
- Other points of criticism were points that both Lead and other coworkers have struggled with at various times.
- Lead and Supervisor asked wife what she will do to improve her performance, but did not provide any guidance as to what steps she should take. Instead they will continue to monitor her more in order to provide further guidance (or fabricate more "evidence", depending on your point of view).
- Wife asks lead if she wants her there next year. Lead responds that she does not.
- Wife says it would be hard to find another job while pregnant. Lead encourages her not to share that she is pregnant.
- Lead says she is tired of holding my wife's hand for past 3 years, despite having told her very recently she was doing fine and having repeatedly told her she was doing a good job over the past years.
- In addition to Lead's own repeated approval of my wife's performance up until now, my wife has a great work history at same job at other workplaces, consistently performing better than her predecessors everywhere she has worked.
- Even her current performance is better than that of those who came before her at this workplace.
- Lead has at times given conflicting advice. One day says "Don't do X" and another day says "You need to be doing X".
And there are other points I could make as well, but not without being more specific than I would like.
To be clear, my question about what further actions we can take is in the same line as if someone had a car accident then there are certain steps you take such as getting the other person's information, taking pictures, contacting insurance, possibly filing police report, etc. None of these things are specific legal advice, and though they may be considered "common sense" many people fail to do these things until it is too late. So I am just trying to ensure there are no obvious steps I am overlooking to do now that I will regret not doing later. It sounds like there aren't since no one has offered any, but that's where my question was going.
I also would have thought my question about whether it's illegal to encourage and/or pressure someone to quit their job after becoming pregnant would be simple yes/no answer after knowing some basic context such as type of business and location. But perhaps I'm wrong about that? And perhaps I should be clear and state that I am not asking whether I might be able to meet the burden of proof to succeed in court on such an issue; I know that a question like that can't be answered here. I'm just wondering whether any laws exist prohibiting it.