Pregnant Women Left Jobless Due To Layoffs At Tech Companies

Amidst widespread tech industry layoffs over the past year, a concerning trend has emerged: pregnant women and those on parental leave among the ranks of the dismissed.

Numerous accounts have surfaced across social media detailing the plight of expectant or postpartum workers impacted by job cuts. However, as Fast Company reported, there are no explicit legal safeguards shielding pregnant or new parent workers from layoffs driven by business necessities.

Employment lawyer Jack Tuckner, who specializes in gender discrimination cases, said he has received calls from impacted workers nationwide.

“I believe that new moms and pregnant women are certainly vulnerable and do get terminated more,” Tuckner said. “But it’s kind of the same analysis as it always is: You [can] be fired when pregnant, just not because you’re pregnant. The bigger problem is when you have a massive layoff of a thousand or more folks, where the positions are being eliminated—how do you prove that sex, pregnancy, and perceived disability was a factor?”

In the absence of federally mandated paid leave, these women have been left to navigate with minimal support from their former employers while caring for newborns or preparing for childbirth, with no job security. Or no job.

Nichole Foley, who was laid off from Google during maternity leave, revealed she was prompted to hire a lawyer to push back on the terms of her layoff, which Google claimed was due to performance issues. Former Google employee Brittany Lappano, terminated in 2023, launched the Discord group Labor Club, which now has over 400 members, offers counsel to laid-off workers.

The magnitude of tech industry layoffs impacting pregnant employees and new parents is staggering. Giants like Google, Amazon, and Meta have collectively terminated tens of thousands of workers over the past year and a half amid widespread downsizing efforts. Most recently, Tesla joined the fray, elminating over 14,000 positions.

According to tracker, the sector’s job cuts since early 2023 surpassed a devastating 340,000 across companies. In 2023, Amazon and Microsoft, as reported by CNBC, announcing a combined 28,000 layoffs, while Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced around 12,000 employee layoffs.

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