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"Don't hire her, she's pregnant. You will need to train someone new in June when the baby is due. Not a wise move"
November 17, 2009 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Please help me analyse this workplace drama. I feel betrayed by my friends and discriminated against for being pregnant.

Please help me get my head around this situation. Sorry about the "chick drama" nature of it.

I have struggled to get pregnant for about a year now, and through the IVF process I confided in two good friends at work, let's call them Bea and Lori. Bea and Lori have been enquiring about the status of my uterus frequently and with great interest, so when I did fall pregnant I confided in them and shared my joyful news. I asked them to be very discreet about it (as you do), due to the high risk of miscarriage early on but also because I am in a vulnerable position at work and am scared of losing my rights to maternity leave. I said specifically to not tell bosslady Vicky, because although Vicky is a mutual friend and a kind boss, she incidentally has connections to a number of areas in my professional and personal life where I did not want the news of my baby to leak out. Bea and Lori crossed their hearts and promised not to tell Vicky or anyone else.

Fast forward to now, I am 10 weeks pregnant, and just found out that bosslady Vicky was considering offering me a job within the large company I already work, but a different department (one that I much prefer to where I currently am). Vicky consulted with Lori and Bea, who together made the shocking decision to tell Vicky that I was pregnant. Bea, backed up by Lori, basically said "Don't hire her, she's pregnant. You will need to train someone new in June when the baby is due. Not a wise move". I am 99% sure that the "agreement" to tell Vicky was instigated by Bea. When I met Lori today I could tell something was up, and it didn't take me long to get her to confess. She was ever so sorry, and close to tears. I really care about Lori as a friend, she has been such an angel up until now. She begged me not to tell Bea or Vicky that she confessed. I would like to tear Bea's head off - much more so than Lori's.

Before I (potentially) take this any further, or go over it in my head for the nth time, I need some input from you guys.

Was I stupid and naive to trust these friends?

Is this what you would call a gross betrayal? It bloody well feels like it.

In your life, is loyalty to your work > loyalty to your friends?

Bonus LegalFilter question: Would this situation be grounds for any kind of lawsuit or official complaint? Obviously I wasn't offered the job because I'm pregnant. Discrimination, right? I am in Australia (Vic), but any legal advice is appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Was I stupid and naive to trust these friends?
--yeah.

Is this what you would call a gross betrayal? It bloody well feels like it.--no. telling someone a 'secret' is always risky. a secret is no fun if you can't tell it to someone ... and your friends got that opportunity. what they did was wrong, etc. but ultimately you can only blame yourself for this.

In your life, is loyalty to your work > loyalty to your friends?
--don't assume people at work are your friends.
posted by lester at 5:39 AM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Was I stupid and naive to trust these friends?

It appears so. But these are the kinds of situations where, unfortunately, you only know that in hindsight.

Is this what you would call a gross betrayal?

Definitely. Discussing the state of anyone's uterus when that person is not around is, at the very least, rude.

In your life, is loyalty to your work > loyalty to your friends?


These women are not your friends. Don't mistake a work friendship for a real friendship. It's too bad that you had to learn this lesson is such difficult circumstances.

I can't speak to discrimination laws in Australia, but if this happened to me in the US, I would consult a lawyer experienced in labor and discrimination issues.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:40 AM on November 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


Apologies if my answer came off as cold-hearted. I really do feel awful for you, OP. But remember, your first loyalty is to yourself and your future child (and, I assume, your partner). Don't let the stress of this affect what should be a happy time for you. Good luck!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:43 AM on November 17, 2009


This is a tricky situation - but consider the fact that the question Vicki put to Bea and Lori might have been along the lines of :

'Can you think of any reason why we shouldn't hire anonymous?'

Lori and Bea saying no would be tantamount to lying. I would imagine Vicki would be quite upset if she found out later on that Lori and Bea had withheld this information from her. Ultimately they would suffer the repercussions of that.

It sucks, it really really does. But to be fair, you don't know the context of how this revelation was made. I can only echo some of the above comments: don't confuse work friends, with real friends. Especially if it seems that they have a conflict of interest.

As for the legality of it. well.. that is a whole other kettle of fish that I can't really comment on.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 6:10 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


The first rule about secrets: If you don't want it getting spread around, do not tell anyone.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:18 AM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Another vote for getting a lawyer.

And as for TheOtherGuy's idea that Lori and Bea would have been lying, the OPs pregnancy is not an ethical (or likely legal) reason why Vicki shouldn't hire her, so even in that situation they could easily have assumed their boss meant to be ethical and kept their mouthes shut.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:21 AM on November 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Work friends are not your "real" friends. They're competitors, no matter how friendly you all are in the workplace. And if anything, this behavior proves that they are not your friends at all, they're backstabbers who deserve no respect or consideration. I would be furious, and I think you are justified in feeling betrayed.

Here is a page on Australia and the laws pertaining to maternal discrimination.

Were it me, I would go talk to Vicky. Explain why you hadn't made an announcement of the pregnancy. I would tell her the same thing you've told us. I would also tell her that you would like to apply for the position, and that you don't think that pregnancy should be a barrier to your success in that position.

Tell her that you are bothered to learn that people you thought were your friends were actively campaigning against you, without you having a change to discuss the position with her yourself. Mention that you would have preferred that any medical information not be shared, because of the very high-risk nature of your pregnancy. (Added to which, the stress of this situation makes things even more difficult for you. God, those women...what cows. I'm so sorry.)

Ask her outright if the only reason you're not being considered for the position is because of the state of your uterus.

If she says yes, I would probably consult with an attorney to discuss my options. Even if she said no, I would probably consult with an attorney. This seems beyond the pale of acceptable.

Needless to say, never, ever, EVER trust the backstabbing biddies again. Were it me, they would get the "Southern Freeze". It's a level of coldly polite behavior that American Southern Women of a Certain Age have perfected to an art form.

I'm so sorry, this so sucks for you. Please take care of you, and the peanut!
posted by dejah420 at 6:21 AM on November 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


'Can you think of any reason why we shouldn't hire anonymous?'

This is what I could imagine may have happened, and I also wonder if maybe Lori's blaming of Bea might be a little exaggerated in order to put herself in a better light. I mean, maybe Bea came out and said "Don't hire her" but I would more readily believe that Vicky asked something along the lines of the above, and someone's face gave it away--then Vicky pressed for information, and either Lori or Bea said "She's pregnant... if you hire her now, you'll have to find a temp to replace her in June" to explain their facial expressions. That doesn't change the fact that it was a betrayal of sorts--and I certainly wouldn't trust either of them again with any kind of secret--but this scenario would somewhat turn Bea's (and Lori's) actions into less of a stab in the back and more of a huge social blunder.

I second consulting a lawyer and then following dejah420's suggestion of speaking directly with Vicky. I wouldn't for a second think about honoring Lori's request not to disclose what you know to Vicky.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:29 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


'Can you think of any reason why we shouldn't hire anonymous?'
Lori and Bea saying no would be tantamount to lying.


What Vivky has heard is an unsubstantiated rumor. Being pregnant or a parent is not a precursor to professional incompetence. There is no reason to think that anonymous, an apparently competent employee, would not be able to do the job. In fact, it's likely that anonymous herself would have had to train anyone needed to cover while she was out. And how long would she be out? They don't know. She could find labor and delivery incredibly easy, have a supportive partner (as most men do who become parents overnight), and return to work in a week. (Yes, I have known several women who have done this.) They don't know. She could miscarry next week and not become pregnant again. They don't know. I don't know labor and discrimination laws in Australia, but if this had been me, here (US) I'd be talking to a lawyer today.

And please don't minimize this as chick drama. If one male employee confided to another male employee that he was going to get a CAT scan next week because he was concerned about a brain mass, and that co-worker then told management not to promote him because of it, we would not be apologizing and writing it off as guy drama. Some of the answers above have me boiling.

And I'll just pull a relevant quote from dejah420's link above:
The federal Sex Discrimination Act 1983 states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the grounds of the employee's sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy by denying the employee access, or limiting the employee's access, to opportunities for promotion.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:30 AM on November 17, 2009 [21 favorites]


Investigate the legality of this because this is wrong. Chick drama aside, you are being discriminated against.

My boss was brought in by a new manager. She was pregnant at the time and left for maternity leave within 2 months of hiring. No one cared because they legally couldn't care. Yea her benefits sucked but that was the way it went coming in so late during her pregnancy but she came back and is still around.

And many, many congrats on your pregnancy. I wish you a happy and healthy one. :)
posted by stormpooper at 6:41 AM on November 17, 2009


I don't think you can really bank on anything anyone says at this point. I'm not sure I'd even believe Lori. This whole thing sounds really, really weird.

If it were me, I'd skip these two and go straight to Vicky.

With regard to your friendship: if it went the way that Lori reported it to you, it's a wicked shitty thing to do. I would cool a friendship after that, limit it to work hours, but I would not make a big stink about it because you have to work with those people.

Two things with regard to telling people you're pregnant: assume no one can keep that it secret. It bubbles out of people. Secondly, you're very hormonal. I'm not saying don't be upset. I'm just saying you should be conscious of that.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:44 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


1. DOCUMENT. Something in writing now, even if it's an email to yourself saying "this happened and this is what I felt it meant for my prospects" is valuable.
2. Don't burn any bridges until you're sure you want to.
3. HREOC
4. You're at a big place. Personnel or Human Resources will be ready to see you, and if you are clear that you've thought about your options, seeing them will be good for you. Big companies understand that women have get pregnant and that losing them is a bad thing.
5. Whatever they meant, they betrayed your confidence.
6. Congratulations.
posted by hawthorne at 6:45 AM on November 17, 2009


To clarify my earlier comment, as it seems to be causing some confusion (ie. ...penguin and cocoagirl)

I am not saying Vicky was right to do what she did, its illegal and it stinks to high heaven.

My point was that the OP doesn't know how the information came out when Vicky consulted Lori and Bea. The idea that Bea was a blabbermouth who couldn't wait to tell Vicky may very well be true, but it is also hearsay. The conversation might also be as the way Meg_Murry describes, that Vicky was able to pry the info out of them.

Either way it sucks, there is no denying that. The impression I get from the OP is that she was just as peeved at her betrayal than of not getting the job itself. So it was that aspect I was commenting on.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 6:49 AM on November 17, 2009


Can it ever be stressed enough? Never confuse co-workers with friends. Co-workers are not friends. Not only in this case, but ever, ever, ever.
When I read the word "confide" I put my head in my hands, because I could see the outcome.
Please consult with an employment attorney.
posted by BostonTerrier at 7:02 AM on November 17, 2009


These coworkers are not your friends. Even Lori, who now claims she's super sorry, agreed to tell Vicky that you are pregnant (congratulations) and to hide this from you. She may well be a wonderful friend outside work, but you are not outside work. Your boss is not a "mutual friend", she's your boss and theirs. Some coworkers can be friends -- not Bea and Lori, but it is possible. Your boss is not your friend.
posted by jeather at 7:12 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do not know anything about the legal dimension of this; the following opinion leaves out legal considerations entirely.

To me, it seems an important first step to acknowledge that you don't know for sure the criteria by which Vicky made her decision not to offer you the job. You're assuming that the pregnancy is the sole reason, and you feel aggrieved because this seems to be an unfair reason to be denied the job. Concurrently, you feel betrayed by your friends because they shared information with your boss that you had asked them not to share.

I... don't mean to be heartless. This sounds like a stressful and upsetting situation and you have my sympathy. But at the risk of being... perhaps quite, quite wrong... allow me to offer a minority opinion.

You're assuming that the pregnancy is the sole reason for not being offered the job
This isn't a safe assumption. All you have is Lori's account, and that may not be the whole story. It may be wise to try to distance yourself from the feelings of hurt and anger, take a deep breath, and have a calm, open conversation with Vicky. Listen.

You feel aggrieved because being pregnant seems to be an unfair reason to be denied the job.
You voluntarily opted to undergo a nine month ordeal that inevitably will take up increasingly vast quantities of your time and energy, and after that nine month ordeal, you'll have another eighteen years or so where your time and attention will (if you're doing it right) go to your child first, and your job second. This is a clear statement about your priorities. While this depends a lot on the specific demands of the job... frankly, if the job demands long hours, inflexible time commitments, or a lot of training, denying you the job due to pregnancy may be a perfectly rational choice for your employer (although quite possibly illegal, I don't know). Committing to a child means less commitment to work, other things equal. For an employer to treat you exactly the same regardless of your pregnancy would imply some kind of... subsidy, for lack of a better word... and while this would be nice, I don't think it's something that you can expect.

You're angry at your friends for betraying you
This is a hard one. I would feel betrayed, too. It's worth bearing in mind that you did put them in an awkward situation, and one where them not telling Vicky could definitely come back to hurt them. These are probably not people that are worth having in your inner circle of friends. However, you should not have told your coworkers about your pregnancy if you were not prepared to have your workplace know about it. The responsibility, ultimately, is yours. I think it would be fine to tell them you feel hurt and betrayed, but to hold a grudge, give them the silent treatment, or otherwise act out on your anger would seem childish and unprofessional, in my opinion.

But hey, look on the bright side! You're having a kid! I hear they're great, and worth the sacrifices.
posted by kprincehouse at 7:16 AM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


For an employer to treat you exactly the same regardless of your pregnancy would imply some kind of... subsidy, for lack of a better word... and while this would be nice, I don't think it's something that you can expect.

Well, luckily for half of the population (the female half), that's the law.

She needs to talk to a lawyer, or at least to Vicky directly.
posted by chowflap at 7:38 AM on November 17, 2009 [19 favorites]


The situation sucks but your 'friends' may have just been trying to cover their butts. If they failed to disclose that you're pregnant they could get it trouble for it later on if it comes out that they knew. Obviously 'officially' they'd be in trouble for some other reason, just as officially, you weren't given that promotion for some other reason. From their perspective it may not be a case of loyalty to work > loyalty to you as a friend but that looking after their own ass > looking after yours.

Legally, of course you couldn't be denied the promotion for being pregnant and of course your friends wouldn't have got in trouble for not disclosing your pregnancy because there's no problem being pregnant. But this is the real world and you know that, that's one of the reasons you didn't tell them. Proving discrimination will be difficult, you only have Lori's word about it, if there's no other documentation its your word against theirs, I'm sure they'll have a perfectly good explanation of why you didn't get the promotion that has nothing to do with the status of your uterus - IANAL what happens in that situation I don't know, you should be able to get a free/cheap consultation with a lawyer to talk over your chances of taking it further.


And document everything from now on. Now that your boss unofficially knows that you're pregnant, if your position was already shaky, they could be looking for any experience to fire you or alter your position to make sure you don't get maternity rights. A lawyer in your area will be able to advise you properly but I would suggest officially informing your company of your pregnancy now just so that if anything does happen to you work-wise, Vicky can't turn around and claim to have known nothing about the pregnancy and therefore couldn't possibly be discriminating against you.
posted by missmagenta at 7:47 AM on November 17, 2009


You voluntarily opted to undergo a nine month ordeal that inevitably will take up increasingly vast quantities of your time and energy, and after that nine month ordeal, you'll have another eighteen years or so where your time and attention will (if you're doing it right) go to your child first, and your job second. This is a clear statement about your priorities. While this depends a lot on the specific demands of the job... frankly, if the job demands long hours, inflexible time commitments, or a lot of training, denying you the job due to pregnancy may be a perfectly rational choice for your employer (although quite possibly illegal, I don't know). Committing to a child means less commitment to work, other things equal. For an employer to treat you exactly the same regardless of your pregnancy would imply some kind of... subsidy, for lack of a better word... and while this would be nice, I don't think it's something that you can expect.

Please ignore this. Everything above (aside from the actual pregnancy) also applies to the father of the child and I'm confident that people who hold that opinion would say that the father of the child shouldn't be denied advancement opportunities at work because he chose to have a child too.
posted by Kimberly at 8:05 AM on November 17, 2009 [32 favorites]


Work friends almost never equal real friends. They screwed you over, yes, but don't tell work friends secrets.

Document, but it will be difficult to prove you were denied the promotion because of the pregnancy; you only heard they were "considering" you, right?
posted by spaltavian at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2009


Get your "friends" to admit to everything, preferably in writing, including telling your boss that she shouldn't hire you because you're pregnant, and be sure to document everything they say as well as you can. Once that's done, a discrimination case should be a piece of cake if it comes to that.

So sorry this happened, but yes, work "friends" are never really friends except maybe after you don't work together anymore. It's just a different dynamic.
posted by balls at 8:58 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should add that the fact that you shouldn't have trusted them doesn't make their behavior any less reprehensible. They sound like terrible people and you definitely have a right to feel betrayed.
posted by balls at 8:59 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Information is power so in addition to letting your boss know you know tell co-workers as well so your workplace can't make you disappear. This also gives your co-workers and management the heads-up that your two "friends" can not be trusted with confidentialities. You are in a tough spot and you have my sympathy but congrats on finally getting pregnant.

to Kprincehouse, not just mothers (and fathers) but also middle-aged men going through midlife crisis' and choosing to prioritize their mistress over their work or those darn old people in their fifties that start having health problems and putting their health before work too. I guess the only people that SHOULD work are young healthy men.
posted by saucysault at 8:59 AM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Was I stupid and naive to trust these friends?

Yes. Telling anyone you work with and expecting it to somenow not make its way up the foodchain is indeed naive. As for stupid? I think it was well-intentioned - you are of course, excited, and they were asking. It's natural. Naive, but natural.

Is this what you would call a gross betrayal? It bloody well feels like it.

Yes again. However, when you look at it from their point of view, they probably felt like they were doing the "right thing" by telling your boss, who would find out eventually. From their POV, they probably thought that saving her the possible stress of training someone else later was more important than protecting your privacy. They certainly shouldn't have said anything, but I think that the charitable reading here is that they were trying to help your boss, not sabotage you.

In your life, is loyalty to your work > loyalty to your friends?

If the friends are workplace friends... then it kind of makes sense that the workplace is the priority. Also, in my own life, my work > just about everything. I work insane hours per week and have no time for anything else. And I'm fine with that, but it does mean that my friends often take a back seat. Thankfully, interpersonal issues don't come up for me regarding work - I'm sort of "self-employed" in a way, but yeah, in a situation less severe than "life or death," the job comes first.

PS: Congrats!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:34 AM on November 17, 2009


[few comments removed - this question BADLY need to not go the "here is my opinion on people having babies" route. do not go there. thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:36 AM on November 17, 2009


Please ignore this.

Yes. The fact that socially maladjusted people hang around on the internet doesn't mean you should listen to them. Jesus, that comment is stupid. This is a clear statement about your priorities. Goddamn right. Sensible people realize that there's more to life than being a productive drone for our employers.

As to the content of your question, while you probably would have a case if you were denied a job because of your pregnancy (though I don't really know that, you would need to talk to a lawyer), it doesn't seem to me that you're there yet. It sounds like this has all happened very recently - has the position been filled? Could you approach Vicky and say, "I understand that Bea and Lori spoke to you about my pregnancy. I'm obviously hurt that they did so, as I had confided in them as personal friends, but that something that I will deal with between us outside of work. I wanted to talk to you about the position that is coming open in X department. I would be very interested in it, and I think that I would do it well. While I realize that my maternity leave would be an inconvenience for the company, I think that I've demonstrated that I'm committed to a long-term career here, and that I could be of greater value to the company in the long term in the new position, and I would make the investment in me worthwhile. I'd also be available to train a temporary replacement, and I would be willing to explore other options for making a leave period easier, like being available by email to answer periodic questions, especially in the last few weeks of my pregnancy/first few weeks on the job for a replacement."

Okay, I just made up the forgoing. The point is that you should, as much as possible in the workplace, try to be positive. Starting to throw around threats of lawsuits is about as quick a way as you can think of to ensure that your employer is only going to do what they are legally obliged to do for you. They won't go out of their way to accommodate you, and it could potentially set back your career a lot more than missing this one transfer. Demonstrating a positive attitude and a long-term commitment will get you a lot further.
posted by Dasein at 10:58 AM on November 17, 2009


IANAL and know nothing about the laws in Australia, but this screams ILLEGAL to me in bright, bold, blinking letters. Vicky's question in and of itself wasn't wrong or illegal, if she was asking for and expecting professional input about your job performance, skills, and so on. Your colleagues offering it as a reason, however, and apparently her decision not to extend the job offer to you because of it, is discrimination, plain and simple. I don't know how easy it would be to prove, and what little I know about the law pertains to the US, but this definitely sounds like a case that would have some traction. You should definitely speak with a lawyer.

As for your other questions,

Was I stupid and naive to trust these friends? Unfortunately, I think you seriously misjudged your relationship with these two ladies. That's not stupid or naive, just a miscalculation. As a rule you have to be careful with work friends, but it is possible to make a true, dear friend in the workplace and the expectation of confidentiality would be reasonable and mutual. Yes, if you truly want something to remain a secret then it's best not to share it with anyone, but you were justifiably excited and I understand why you wanted to tell them.

Is this what you would call a gross betrayal? It bloody well feels like it. Yes, I'm with you 100% on this one. There is no reason why they absolutely had to tell your boss, and they would have plausible deniability about knowing so early on, therefore the fall-out, if any, would have been minimal. In the future, I wouldn't trust either of these ladies with a weather report, nevermind any sort of personal information.

In your life, is loyalty to your work > loyalty to your friends? Depends on the friend, and the nature of the confidence I'm keeping. A true good friend, I would have his or her back every time, as long as nothing illegal was involved. A work friend, however, I would be a bit more selective about what I considered fair game. Regardless, even if I wasn't tight with someone, I would not have repeated this information. I'm an executive assistant, and as is common to the profession, my fellow assistants often have ambitions and goals beyond the workplace. Going to school, changing careers, moving, being pregnant, looking for a new job, all of those things which might effect their future at the company may be known, but would never, ever be shared with anyone higher in the organization because at the end of the day, it's none of our business, and plans change all the time. This was a crappy thing to do, and I hope you have some sort of recourse.

Lastly, congratulations and best of luck with the next 9 months and whatever lays beyond!
posted by katemcd at 11:19 AM on November 17, 2009


You voluntarily opted to undergo a nine month ordeal that inevitably will take up increasingly vast quantities of your time and energy...

Others have said it already, but this paragraph is full of unwarranted assumptions, does not address your question, and is totally irrelevant to the matter at hand. The law is the law.

What a frustrating and stressful way to have your pregnancy become public. I hope you can continue to feel the joy and excitement you are entitled to.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:44 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm in Victoria and currently on maternity leave and that is VERY VERY illegal - if the assumption on the job offer is true. I agree you should never mistake work friends for real friends and pregnancy is a bitch of a thing to deal with at work. Even if your employer is wonderful, workmates can be complete arseholes about this. Bea and Lori had no right to share that news without permission and Vicky should not have made that decision based on your pregnancy. Even if Vicky asked outright if there was a reason she shouldn't give you the job, it was bad form on her part and bad form on theirs. The correct thing to have done would not have been trolling for gossip and to have talked to you.

Talk to Vicky then talk to HR. Stop talking to Lori and Bea, since they have proven that they aren't real friends, simply work friends who don't have your back at all.
posted by geek anachronism at 1:46 PM on November 17, 2009


You don't know if Vicky made the decision based on that, and it's likely she more than halfway wishes she hadn't learned the information at all, for the legal reasons mentioned above.

On the other hand, your friends were in a sticky situation. Assuming they are at least as much "friends" with Vicky as they are with you (as would be the case at my work place) they were in the position of having to withhold information that would affect Vicky, themselves, and a whole lot of other coworkers. How ethical would it have been to withhold information that will negatively impact everyone around them and their company? That's a tough spot for to be in.

(If you were Vicky and found out later they'd withheld it, I am guessing Vicky would feel similarly betrayed.)

As a rule of thumb, don't tell friends things that could potentially put them in a rough spot. Personally, I don't tell people secrets and I don't want people to tell me secrets. Your friends were asking for trouble when they hounded you about your IVF progress and now a lot of people are or will be suffering for it.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:20 PM on November 17, 2009


[this also needs to not become a discussion of pregnant women in the workplace.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:39 PM on November 17, 2009


You said you're already in a precarious position at work. Is it possible that the reason you didn't get the promotion is because of said precariousness, and not because you're making a poopie-monster?

I ask because *most* people know that's not on, especially woman.

As for betrayal... I think the best of people, and your friends were in a position to reveal something that would have been BLATANTLY obvious in a few months VS possibly damaging their friend (Vicky), their co-workers and their own jobs, no matter how tenuously.

I don't think true secrets should be shared. That was a mistake on your behalf, I'm sorry. I'm guessing you thought all the danger would blow over before you started to show. That's no longer going to be the case, so good luck.
posted by Quadlex at 8:13 PM on November 17, 2009


Your 'friends' suck.

But please don't assume that, "Obviously I wasn't offered the job because I'm pregnant". I do not know your situation, so apologies if I'm totally off base. I realize it may seem that it's discrimination, but consider the possibility that part of what might have tanked you isn't discrimination, but the lack of a strong advocate.

I don't know your workplace, but it's generally quite common for a manager to consider a number of candidates for an internal position. Going around, they may have heard that candidate X is fabulous for five reasons. In your case they didn't hear anything fabulous about you. Beyond outing you, they didn't bother to champion you. All things being equal, they may have decided that pregnancy aside, candidate X is fabulous for five reasons, so they get the promotion.

It isn't clear that you have all of the details of what the consideration process was like, but it sounds like it isn't clear to you how the selected candidate was substantively stronger than you. If you think it makes sense for you, consider taking everyone's advice and approach Vicki, perhaps in the context of talking about your long term professional growth.

I'm so sorry this unpleasantness is happening to you.
posted by anitanita at 9:03 PM on November 17, 2009


I'd go talk to Vicky, now, about the position and the department you'd much rather work for. If there's talk of you being hired, you might as well let her know it's your preference even before maternity leave--maybe you could work out something for afterwards, making the best of both situations.

I presume if she knows you're pregnant, and you know you were being considered for the job, you can all work this out legally, perhaps with HR intervention, but easily for the best.

Also, you weren't stupid. Naive, maybe, but it's never stupid to trust your friends; you're supposed to be able to trust them.
posted by timoni at 11:18 PM on November 17, 2009


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