“The same day I was put on bed rest, I was told my job couldn’t be extended”: Leslie M’s Story

Leslie M

I can’t say for sure that I was purposefully targeted.  My story is tangled with fear and emotion and an imperfect employment situation that had warning signs before I was pregnant.  My employer was a public agency: The City of Seattle…so it seems likely that incompetence was more to blame than greed.  But I found that a culture of incompetence and self-protective cover-ups can be just as damaging as corporate greed.  

I was in a benefited but temporary position.  Promises were made that the position would become permanent, or at least extended, starting before I was hired.  After all, I was launching a new program for Seattle City Light that would a) need someone to manage it and b) fund itself.

In November of 2010, I told my manager that I was pregnant with my second child.  My first child, born in 2008 had been born at 33 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia.  This time, though I was considered to have a high-risk pregnancy, the odds were still favorable that I could have the redemptive natural birth of a full term baby that I had dreamed.  In March at 26 weeks pregnant, the dream ended.  I was put on bed rest to hold off the escalation of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) for as long as possible.  The same day, my employer told me my position could not be extended and would end in August. 

I continued to work from home for a couple of weeks on bed rest. Conditions became more serious and I was admitted to the hospital.  I called and emailed HR to ask how to handle everything.  I was told that I qualified for the City’s Sick Leave Donation Program, whereby other qualifying employees of my department could donate sick leave to me.   I was told to fill out a form. Then an HR employee sent an email to approximately 1900 Seattle City Light Employees that stated:  Sick Leave donations are now being accepted for Leslie M.