Illegal Termination of pregnant women - terminated from a company on the last day of her 3 months probation period - CiteHR
Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Nagarkar Vinayak L
Hr-consultant
+1 Other

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My wife was terminated from a company on the last day of her 3 months probation period (30th Sept). Company has given her two weeks notice (as per her contract) and her last day at work was 11th Oct. Company mentioned the reason as that she wasn't completing 9 hours on a daily and continuous basis. She was terminated despite her no red flags being raised on her performance.
As per our analysis on the time data shared with us by the company (as part of her termination letter), she was just short by 25 mins on an average per day in 50 days. Also, the data provided could have been manipulated by the company. Thus, we feel that the reason given is not strong enough to fire someone. Also, this was not mentioned in her contract (offer letter, attached) as a potential reason on which they could fire her. Also, they never gave her any written warning for falling short. Thus, we feel that the real (hidden) reason is that she was fired because of her pregnancy.
Please note that company has paid her September month salary and her full and final settlement amount.
We have already sent a legal notice to the company to which they haven't responded back. What are our other options?
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Whether the fact of the employee's pregnancy was officially intimated to the employer?
Dear colleagues,
It is often observed that the poster doesn't give adequate background data of the query which results into wasting time in seeking basic information just as Mr Umakanthan had to do. If the querist provides basic information like his company is a factory or commercial establishment, he/she is working as workman,supervisor or manager, how many employees employed, communication to employer regarding maternity/pregnancy etc will help a lot in giving timely advice/ opinion.
Every querist need to follow this discipline.
Regards,
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR- Consultant
Hi,
Pardon my ignorance of what is required to rightfully answer the queries. Please find the below answers:
a. Whether the fact of the employee's pregnancy was officially intimated to the employer?
- My wife officially told about her pregnancy to the company around 08th August 2019, after she joined back office from sick leave. A medical certificate submitted in lieu of sick leave dated 06th August 2019, mentions that my wife is 12 weeks pregnant at that point
b. company is a factory or commercial establishment
I think it is a commercial establishment. The company is a foreign company incorporated on 21 August 2013 and its country of incorporation is Hong Kong. In India, they have a small office in Gurgaon.
c. he/she is working as workman,supervisor or manager,
My wife was working as a Junior MI Analyst with them. I believe out of the 3 categories, she will be classifies as a workman
d. how many employees employed
In India they have close to 50 employees.
Dear colleague,
This is clear case of the breach of the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act/ Rules and her termination during known pregnancy is blatantly illegal.
You represent to the top decision authority of the company giving full facts of the case culminating in illegal termination demanding your reinstatement in the service and grant of maternity leave as per rules as when she is entitled to it later.
You also mention that if your request is not acceded to, you will have no option but to take appropriate legal action against the company.
Regards,
Vinayak Nagarkar,
HR- Consultant
There is no breach of MB Act. As per sec 15 of the Act,termination is prohibited only when the women is absenting from work in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
In the given facts there is nothing to infer violation of the Act.
I think that the opinion of Mr.Varghese is correct. In view of section 12(2)(a) of the Maternity Benefit Act,1961, the employer can terminate the services of a woman any time during her pregnancy, if such termination will not deprive the woman of the maternity benefit and medical bonus.
Let the poster get it ensured from the employer.
If the poster questions the very act of discharge, he can advise his wife to raise an industrial dispute u/s 2-A(1) of the ID Act,1947 before the Conciliation Officer for the area.
Sorry I quoted sec 15,but it is sec 12.
With three months service I don't know how far she can succeed under ID Act.
She can claim reinstatement with back-wages and continuity of service.
Termination during probation is justified as per terms of appointment and to confirm to job is prerogative of employer.
Whereas termination of one, being pregnant is illegal.
But as per MB Act one can claim MB benefit by fulfilling the following;
* The employee should have worked for her employer at least 80 days in the last 12 months
** Employee request her employer to assign her light work to avail maternity benefits.
*** Such request should be made at least before 10 weeks of her date of expected delivery.
**** The employee should produce a certificate 10 weeks before her delivery to the employer confirming her pregnancy.The employee needs to give written notice to the employer before 7 weeks of her date of delivery regarding her absence period.
It is apparent from the posting that (" My wife officially told about her pregnancy to the company around 08th August 2019, after she joined back office from sick leave. A medical certificate submitted in lieu of sick leave dated 06th August 2019, mentions that my wife is 12 weeks pregnant at that point") the employee conceived prior to her employment and fall under non-disclosure of fact or concealing facts.

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