“I’m 35 weeks pregnant, and just been put on a questionable Performance Improvement Plan. Can you help?”

Question: I have been employed by this company for a year. Three months ago, my manager was demoted, and a new manager was hired.

Last week I was called in and told by my new manager that I am being put on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”), and that I have 30 days to bring in more revenue. However, I have not received any documentation of any kind. My new manager is basing this on revenue numbers I dispute, especially since only 7 of 80 sales representatives (that’s less than 9%) are on sales target, due to the bad economy.

I am 35 weeks pregnant, and this is a 30-day improvement plan. I truly believe my new manager is targeting me because I am pregnant, because during my maternity leave I will continue to get benefits, and she will have to cover my accounts while I am out on maternity leave.

Can you help?

Cincinnati, Ohio

Answer: It sure looks like you are being targeted due to your pregnancy, and that your new manager is using what I call a “Fraudulent PIP” to get rid of you.

You should consider doing three things:

First, write a letter and send it by both email and Fedex (or UPS) to both the President of the company and the Director of HR and tell them the same set of facts and events you have described in your letter to me. In your letter, tell them that you believe:

(a) You are being discriminated against on the basis of your pregnancy, in violation of both State and Federal law;
(b) You are being targeted to deny you your job, benefits and legal rights;
(c) The PIP is a fraud, which the company should be ashamed of;
(d) Demand an immediate retraction of the PIP, and written confirmation that it has been retracted;
(e) Tell them that you want your job when you return from maternity leave, and that you should not have to hire an attorney to keep it, but that if you need to do that, you just might do so;
(f) Finally, remind them that they could be held personally liable for any retaliation against you for your writing to them with this Complaint.

Second, I would seek a consultation with a local employment attorney. A while back I worked with a fine employment attorney in your city, Attorney Ira Mirkin. Why don’t you look him up, and see if he might be available to assist you. If he is not available, you might ask him for a referral to a colleague. Alternatively, you might call the Referral Service of your local Bar Association.

Third, I urge you to read the articles on PIP’s in our Resource Center. To do so [click here.] 

Also, for a nominal fee we offer for purchase a Model Letter to “Write in Response to a PIP” on our “Private Library” blog section. To purchase this model letter [click here.]

No one should fear having children, or fear losing their job for becoming pregnant, and our elected officials (state and federal) have passed laws making discrimination on the basis of pregnancy illegal. You may have to “stand up” a bit to enforce your legal rights, but I am certain you can do it.

My very best wishes and prayers for you and your baby’s upcoming delivery. Personally, for me, I believe kids are the most fun part of life.

Best to you and your baby!!

Best, Al Sklover


Repairing the World –
One Empowered and Productive Employee at a Time ™   

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

Print Article