A law firm that fired one of its employees after announcing their engagement is being slammed on a popular Reddit forum.
The worker, u/Citizenbeck, shared her story with the r/antiwork subreddit, garnering 15,700 upvotes and 500 comments in six hours for her post: “My career was going great until I got engaged…”
She said she worked at the law firm for five years before telling the owner she got engaged to her boyfriend. Although things were “going well” up until then, things changed in no time after this revelation.
“The first literal words that came out of his mouth were ‘when are you going to stop working?’ When I asked him what he meant by that, he explained to me that when women get married, they have children and stop working. kids so don’t worry,” u/Citizenbeck wrote.
But worry, apparently, and things quickly got worse for the original poster (OP). She says that even though she hasn’t taken a vacation in the past four years, when she took half a day off for physical therapy, her bosses insisted she stay late to make up for lost time. But the breaking point came when they handed over the office she had held for five years to a new hire – “an older man, go figure” – and moved her to a cubicle.
The OP says his story has a happy ending, though. She found a new job and earns twice as much as she did at the old law firm – and discovered after leaving that firm that she was ‘grossly underpaid’ compared to her male colleagues .
In comments, she said she was not planning to sue the law firm for discrimination or harassment, as it was a surefire way to get blacklisted in the industry.
“I work in a very small niche if the law,” u/Citizenbeck wrote. “If I had sued them, I would have had to change the type of law I practice, open my own practice or move to a new area in order to get another job in the same area of law.”
She also added that in addition to treating her with respect, the new company would urge her to take some time off if they find out she hasn’t done so in a while.
While the PO felt she could not sue her former employers in her situation, for those who can, Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) outlines a seven-step plan for someone who thinks they are being discriminated against at work . The first step is to consult the company’s manual to find out what specific policies are being violated and how its complaints procedure works. If this is not clear in the manual, ERA advises contacting Human Resources.
Next, be sure to get detailed written accounts of what happened, when it happened, and whether there were any witnesses or anyone else involved. As incidents occur, try to jot them down quickly, lest details be overlooked.
Be sure to keep these records at home or in a personal email account anywhere that is both secure and not controlled by the workplace. Also keep copies of any emails, text messages or voicemails related to the discrimination experienced.
Then go to Human Resources to report a complaint if possible, and do so in writing – and keep a copy of those reports. Also, talk to the shop steward if there is one. If things are still not handled by the company, file with a government agency; this is usually either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the federal level or a fair employment agency at the state level. In California, the Department of Civil Rights is the agency that will handle complaints of discrimination.
The ERA says it’s important to keep track of time limits — usually 180 days from the last act of discrimination, but in some states that time limit extends to 300 days. And, finally, talk to a lawyer – some lawyers offer a free consultation to determine your legal options.
Newsweek published several articles about discrimination, including a bar dragged for its sexist hiring ad asking only for busty women, a Redditor who changed his name after being confronted with racism while looking for work, and a woman who was told “I was expecting a man” when she showed up for a job interview.
Redditors had u/Citizenbeck’s back.
“I find it bizarre that law firms are willing to fuck with their employees…who are lawyers,” u/Due_Seesaw_2816 wrote.
“Not all law firm employees are lawyers. Some of us are paralegals and paralegals. Still, it’s amazing how much law firms love to play games with their employees, like we don’t have access to the same law books as them,” u/JustMe518 added.
“It looks like your career is still going well, but not with the sexist employers you started out with. In fact, with the pay raise, it looks like it’s going much better than with the a**hats,” u/ChildOf1970 wrote.