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We have a female manager whose attendance has been consistently erratic, and now she has presented a pregnancy certificate while requesting to work from home. However, doubts have arisen regarding the authenticity of the certificate, given her past behavior. Considering her overall conduct, we're contemplating terminating her employment.

While she hasn't officially commenced maternity leave, her disclosure of pregnancy prompts us to explore the possibility of terminating her contract while providing maternity benefits. Are there legal considerations we should be aware of in this matter?

From India, Delhi
Dinesh Divekar

Dear member,

Your post creates more questions in one's mind. Please confirm to us the following:

a) What is the length of the service of the woman employee? Did she join as a manager or she has risen from the lower level and earned this designation?

b) If the attendance of the woman employee was erratic, then what action did you take? Did you try to find out the causes of her absence? Did somebody counsel her? Was she issued with written warning or show-cause notice for her absence?

c) In many companies, women employees are told to declare their pregnancy after the first trimester. If she has done so by submitting a valid certificate, why has it created doubt? To validate the authenticity of the certificate, why your company did not arrange an independent medical examination from a certified gynaecologist?

d) You have written, "Considering her overall conduct, we're contemplating terminating her employment." Other than unauthorised absence, what misconduct did the woman employee commit?

Final comments: - Probably, your company's administration is biased against this woman employee, and you have carried forward the bias to this forum. Biases or suspiciousness have no room while running the administration of the company. While the menfolk may not be able to capture, the signs of pregnancy do not escape the attention of the women employees. What is the opinion of other woman employees? Furthermore, the woman in question is from the managerial cadre. The managers behave responsibly and yet in the eyes of the company's administration, she is a shirker!

A few pregnant women suffer from severe morning sickness, and it impacts their work performance. Possibly, the woman manager of your company belongs to this category. I strongly recommend viewing this case with empathy. Celebrating womanhood of the women should not be reserved for International Women's Day (8th of March). Understanding their needs, feelings, etc. is important on the other 364 days also!


Dinesh Divekar

P.S.: - I have written my reply as a neutral observer. I neither support the employer, nor the woman employee.

From India, Bangalore
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