Boss Gets Dragged For Complaining Pregnant Employee’s Morning Sickness Is Cutting Into Productivity

When I finally got pregnant and managed to keep the pregnancy, I was lucky—I didn’t have morning sickness at all.

I thought maybe the universe was giving me a break after having multiple miscarriages.

But I knew how serious morning sickness could be, as many of my friends were laid up in bed for months with a bucket next to their head, completely unable to function.

When you’re a person trying to either get pregnant or get through your pregnancy, there will be bumps in the road. There will be doctor appointments, changes in mood, and seemingly never-ending exhaustion. Your work will often take a back seat to your health—and that needs to be okay. 

Being pregnant is not easy, but a lot of employers will go out of their way to punish pregnant people or discriminate against them.

On Reddit, one such person lays out their logic for holding a pregnant woman accountable for her lack of productivity while she vomits her brains out probably due to hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)—and if you have ever been pregnant or cared about a pregnant person, this OP will make you mad. 

The OP explains that he works in an office supervising a team of three people. He says that the end of the year is crunch time, and everyone in the office is expected to answer their phones and emails around the clock.

“Most of my team is doing great, except for one woman I’ll call Cara. Cara told me two weeks ago that she is pregnant, and she is about 10 weeks along. The only reason she told me in the first place was because I had to write her up for not being as available as she needed to be.”

“She was calling in sick at least once a week for the past four weeks, and when she was at the office she was not 100% focused on her work. She explained that she has severe morning sickness, and that she has been vomiting multiple times per day, and some days she needed to take off. I agreed to work with her, and told her that she can come in later and stay later if she needs to to get around the morning sickness, but she apparently is sick all day.” 

The OP says he has made concessions, “allowing” time off for doctor visits and breaks throughout the day.

Cara can no longer eat lunch (probably because she has extreme morning sickness) but has to snack throughout the day on smaller meals.

“My other staff is staying at the office until 8 or 9 in the evening, but Cara is out by 6 and apparently goes straight to sleep when she gets home and keeps her phone muted during that time. We have had to scramble to cover for her. Her work quality has also suffered, as apparently she has difficulty concentrating due to headaches and won’t take anything for them.” 

Oh, a pregnant person is being cautious about taking medication? You don’t say.  

“I sat her down yesterday and relayed my concerns. She acknowledged how her lack of productivity has hurt the rest of the staff, but claimed that she is physically struggling a great deal. I told her that was no excuse, because she is only in her first trimester and barely even pregnant yet.” 

Guess what? The first trimester is when you are most likely to experience morning sickness, you dummy. 

“I also questioned whether it was fair to other women that she was using a normal bodily function as an excuse for low productivity—this is what women fought to counteract during the feminist movement. She said she understood and would try to do better,” the OP said.

Now he thinks he knows what feminism is all about? I’m done here. 

“I told my wife about it, and she called me an asshole, saying that I have no idea how hard pregnancy can be. I just think that it is unfair for an entire staff to pick up someone’s slack because they made a personal decision to become pregnant.” 

I can’t even pretend to be partial. This man is sacrificing his worker’s health and doesn’t understand pregnancy or feminism. Capitalism is a hell of a drug.

Redditors had no sympathy for the OP’s plight and called him out on his lack of empathy. 

“It sounds like she has HG. OP, you might not know what it is, but I am still recovering from it. It hits you in the first trimester, and before modern medicine, you could die from it. That’s not me being dramatic, it’s a fact. You vomit so much you start to dehydrate. You can fall into a coma. You can die from malnourishment. I lost over 13% of my body weight in a month time, was hospitalized three times and it took me six weeks AFTER the HG had passed to get me back on track physically. Your employee is SICK. She may have chosen to get pregnant, but she didn’t chose to get sick because of it. Whether she really has HG or not is up for a doctor to decide, but she needs support and medical aid, not a supervisor that complains about “slacking” because they don’t understand how much of a strain her body is put under right now. I’m going to say this loudly. You need to stop pushing her right now, because if she gets a miscarriage due to mental and/or physical stress it will be your fault,” said Trania86

“Oh man I’m 8 months pregnant with my 3rd and last kid and this has me fuming. I lost 10 lbs in the first 3 months of each pregnancy because I couldn’t eat anything. You literally feel on the verge of throwing up all day, and for me I threw up most of the day too. Not to mention the level of tiredness that I’d never experienced before. It’s like being on sleep meds all day. The first trimester is the hardest. For me around 4 months of utter misery. I could hardly function. Pregnancy is no joke and I’m thrilled we’ve decided to complete our family because I don’t think I have it in me to go through it again. This guy is a real piece of work and I can only hope his wife is spared from having to carry his child with this unbelievable lack of empathy, awareness, and support,” noted allsfairinwar

“Can we take a moment and put aside the whole pregnant employee issue to acknowledge that OP is the TA regardless for how he treats his staff in general? Forcing your employees to work 12 hours during crunch time instead of bringing in additional help or paying overtime is really shitty. I mean I realize times are especially tough right now but it sounds like this has been the trend for a long time. And answering your phone around the clock? I just can’t imagine a scenario where that is justified for an office job,” observed portezbie

“This doesn’t even have to be HG – it could totally just be normal morning sickness (which, note for OP, is a total misnomer – “randomly super nauseated and vomiting” would be a better name for it)! My current pregnancy has, all things considered, been super easy (e.g., no morning sickness almost at all) – my first trimester I was sleeping 12-13 hours a day and barely dragging myself out of bed. Most women have it much, much harder than I did, and I could barely pull it together for my 9-5 (which, thanks to pandemic, I was doing from home in sweatpants!). Also f**k OP for the following (probably not comprehensive, just rage-typing):

-‘apparently needs to eat many small meals.’ Yes. this is what your OB or midwife will tell you to do – graze all day. It’s also the only way women with nausea keep any calories down at all.

-‘first trimester and barely even pregnant yet.’ Sure, if you ignore the mack truck of hormones, which are at their highest during first trimester!

-‘she made a personal decision to become pregnant.’ Are you really trying to be the kind of employer who fires women when they get pregnant? Because that’s what the feminist movement fought to counteract. Employees are humans with bodies. End of story. And, as someone who tried for years to get pregnant, don’t come at me with the ‘she could have timed it better’ argument. It’s biology, not a vacation. It happens when it happens,” stated nachtkaese

“Actually, there are protections for sick and pregnant workers in the US. If he’s from the US OP isn’t just an asshole he’s a stupid asshole. Now if he takes any disciplinary action against his employee or fires her, he’ll have admitted the problem is her pregnancy right up front. It’s like he’s working as hard as possible to set up a perfect law suit for her. His company’s insurance is not going to want to take this to court and they are going to settle…All the moral reasons you are wrong have been well covered by everyone else. But you also can’t legally discriminate against an employee for being sick or pregnant. And given you’ve already made it super clear this is the reason you are cracking down on her, you now can’t crack down on her. Generally, if you want to commit a crime like fire someone for being sick or pregnant, you at least have to be smart enough not to tell people you are committing the crime, in this case telling them that’s what your issue is. You’re like those teenagers that posted their crimes to social media. So now it’s kiss your employee’s ass and accommodate her all you can so you don’t get sued or reported to HR time. Next time either be a better person or a smarter one,” advised TheHatOnTheCat

“As soon as a I read this I knew this was a man who’s using feminism to cover up his ignorance lol. So because vomiting is a “a normal bodily function” that means you should be able to work while throwing your guts out? Or are you commenting on the concept of being pregnant? What a stupid argument. Fever is also a normal bodily function, by your standards. So is dying. The term “normal bodily functions” in feminism is used to normalise periods and normalise women farting, pooping and sweating just like men, not to force sick people to work.

‘I told her that was no excuse, because she is only in her first trimester and barely even pregnant yet.’

Lol. Not even women who actually have experienced pregnancy are entitled to judge the difficulty of other women’s pregnancies. All pregnancies are different, and some can bring about a horde of health issues, some lifelong. Are you her doctor? No? Then you literally have no idea what she’s going through, whether it’s normal or not, and how she should deal with it.

I also couldn’t help but notice this:

‘and she has not made herself available for calls during off hours’

Is this allowed to be a requirement for employees? And if it is allowed just in general (idk what work laws you have) does her contract include having to be available during off hours? Or is it just an unfair expectation you have of your employees,” asked Affectionate_Ice_.

“Please tell me this is a terrible joke. No no no no. The first trimester of pregnancy is incredibly taxing on a woman. Her sleeping immediately going home is probably exactly what is happening. She is exerting more energy and burning more calories growing a human than you do during any workout. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a true condition. Morning sickness is just a saying. Women really are sick all day. Some more than others. To get around that you eat more frequent meals. You also have a million hormones raging (the whole growing a human part….) and that makes you go to the bathroom more often. And you don’t “let” someone have time off for dr visits. She is pregnant and she is a protected class. If she wants to call out due to extreme nausea/vomiting she can. And other women in the office should be made aware of your misogynistic attitude towards pregnancy and women in general. This is straight up discrimination and if I was her I would be calling HR and a lawyer,’ said Leolover812

Pregnant people of the world: you’ve got this. We’re on your side. 

Lead image: Pixabay

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Patricia Grisafi

Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a freelance writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, Bustle, Broadly, The Establishment, and elsewhere. She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, and designer sunglasses.