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(Eugene Weekly)   Woman on maternity leave fired for checking and deleting email from home, "which the company considered destruction of company property"   (eugeneweekly.com) divider line 180
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8438 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Apr 2014 at 8:20 PM (24 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-04 04:23:08 PM
If the company is this stupid. She is better of unemployed than working for doofuses like this.
 
2014-04-04 04:26:41 PM
Sue the sh*t out of those idiots.
 
2014-04-04 04:38:36 PM
Wouldn't that basically be a catch-all reason for termination then? My company gives me a paltry 250MB limit, which can fill up quickly with various attachments. Could they now fire me for clearing out old e-mails under the guise of "destroying company property?"

Granted working in an at-will state means I could be fired for just showing up wearing an ugly tie, but this seems like a bad idea.
 
FNG [TotalFark]
2014-04-04 06:16:01 PM
What Blues_X  said.  Probably wouldn't win but getting the paper negative exposure and enough bad PR, always helps in a situation like this.
 
2014-04-04 07:41:45 PM

Blues_X: Sue the sh*t out of those idiots.


This. Seems pretty clear this was just a flimsy pretext to fire her for being pregnant.
 
2014-04-04 07:49:36 PM

fusillade762: Blues_X: Sue the sh*t out of those idiots.

This. Seems pretty clear this was just a flimsy pretext to fire her for being pregnant.


seems reasonable
 
2014-04-04 08:18:54 PM

Bucky Katt: fusillade762: Blues_X: Sue the sh*t out of those idiots.

This. Seems pretty clear this was just a flimsy pretext to fire her for being pregnant.

seems reasonable


Yep, anyone on jury familiar with email will see it that way.
 
2014-04-04 08:23:26 PM
My mom the HR director would call this "creative dismissal". And if she's out on Family Leave Act, she litterally has a federal case.
 
2014-04-04 08:25:03 PM
Hint to Employer:  Check the Trash email.
 
2014-04-04 08:26:45 PM
Well I must admit, hacking the mail server and deleting the messages might deserve termination. Wait she only deleted the from her mailbox so the messages aren't actually gone. Well that is an easy lawsuit.
 
2014-04-04 08:27:23 PM
Yeah, this totally isn't a firing to get around maternity leave obligations. *wink*
 
2014-04-04 08:32:08 PM
It sounds like they're trying to avoid paying unemployment.
 
2014-04-04 08:34:43 PM

Delawheredad: If the company is this stupid. She is better of unemployed than working for doofuses like this.


They are trying to sack her without any compensation. Likely to fail. So stupid on that account.
 
2014-04-04 08:35:32 PM
Sounds to me like there's a lot more to this story.  A sample of her writing would be helpful, considering she was covering "entertainment" it may well be horrific.
 
2014-04-04 08:36:04 PM

scottydoesntknow: Wouldn't that basically be a catch-all reason for termination then? My company gives me a paltry 250MB limit,


I work for an automotive manufacturer in the Fortune 500--and we still only get 100MB for our inboxes, including Outlook calendar bullshiat.

This is a very very obvious example of "we want to fire you, woman. for being pregnant, so we're going to make some shiat up."
 
2014-04-04 08:40:29 PM
First" Markstrom Nugent, whose degree is in magazine writing, "

She should be fired for making up a degree.

Second there were also bad write-ups on her performance. My guess is she became pregnant in conjunction with downsizing as the article infers.

Third. Check with HR on what you can and can not do while on leave. I know I cant check email on leave at my company, written policy.

Who takes FLA 3 weeks into a pregnancy btw?
 
2014-04-04 08:41:23 PM
Kid's gonna have a nice college fund.

/ and collect around graduation time.
 
2014-04-04 08:41:48 PM

ReverendJasen: scottydoesntknow: Wouldn't that basically be a catch-all reason for termination then? My company gives me a paltry 250MB limit,

I work for an automotive manufacturer in the Fortune 500--and we still only get 100MB for our inboxes, including Outlook calendar bullshiat.

This is a very very obvious example of "we want to fire you, woman. for being pregnant, so we're going to make some shiat up."


Not even the article states that. The article heavily infers they were in motion to fire her through downsizing. Hence the move to a new beat even prior to her announcement. Note the article saying this was common practice to fire more experienced writers.
 
SH
2014-04-04 08:43:46 PM
"Markstrom Nugent, whose degree is in magazine writing"


In other news,

Oh, nevermind.
 
2014-04-04 08:44:11 PM
FTFA: "It felt like getting punched in the stomach," Markstrom Nugent says.

Just way too late, amirite?
 
2014-04-04 08:46:17 PM
Oh good, I was wondering what the usual defenders were going to say.
 
2014-04-04 08:46:52 PM
Leaving all the other issues here aside.  Any halfway decent lawyer could crush them by simply proving they had inadequate archival of their own emails.  If it was that important they should be saving them all on the server as it is.
 
2014-04-04 08:48:24 PM
would they have fired her if she deleted an email while she was in the office?

hope she comes out of the lawsuit owning that company.
 
2014-04-04 08:48:33 PM

ReverendJasen: scottydoesntknow: Wouldn't that basically be a catch-all reason for termination then? My company gives me a paltry 250MB limit,

I work for an automotive manufacturer in the Fortune 500--and we still only get 100MB for our inboxes, including Outlook calendar bullshiat.

This is a very very obvious example of "we want to fire you, woman. for being pregnant, so we're going to make some shiat up."


I work for a larger, more evil company with the same mailbox size. We're encouraged to delete paper trails emails to foil courts save hard drive space.
 
2014-04-04 08:49:55 PM

MyRandomName: First" Markstrom Nugent, whose degree is in magazine writing, "

She should be fired for making up a degree.


That's probably just the writer of the news article trying to translate a more complex degree title into something the readers can understand. I bet it's either an English or Journalism degree with some sort of technical sounding specialization.
 
2014-04-04 08:50:17 PM
People have talked before about workplace discrimination against women due to the likelihood that they will become pregnant and thus less productive to the company. Most analysis of it just boils down to: "they shouldn't do that." Well guess what, companies don't care about fairness, they care about the bottom line.
How about this solution: Family leave. When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.
 
2014-04-04 08:51:21 PM

The Gentleman Caller: Oh good, I was wondering what the usual defenders were going to say.


Yes. So much simpler to live in ignorance and think every corporate action is an immoral act designed to inflict maximum pain on the innocent.
 
2014-04-04 08:51:50 PM

ReverendJasen: scottydoesntknow: Wouldn't that basically be a catch-all reason for termination then? My company gives me a paltry 250MB limit,

I work for an automotive manufacturer in the Fortune 500--and we still only get 100MB for our inboxes, including Outlook calendar bullshiat.

This is a very very obvious example of "we want to fire you, woman. for being pregnant, so we're going to make some shiat up."


They're looking at the latest court rulings and political environment and rolling the dice. Heck, if the Voters Rights Act can be gutted, they could get the FMLA trashed.
 
2014-04-04 08:52:15 PM

Need_MindBleach: People have talked before about workplace discrimination against women due to the likelihood that they will become pregnant and thus less productive to the company. Most analysis of it just boils down to: "they shouldn't do that." Well guess what, companies don't care about fairness, they care about the bottom line.
How about this solution: Family leave. When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.


I thought FML was accessible to men already, they just feel less inclined to take it.
 
2014-04-04 08:53:28 PM

Need_MindBleach: How about this solution: Family leave. When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.


There could be some unintended consequences here, but what the heck. I'm for it.
 
2014-04-04 08:55:40 PM
According to Randi Bjornstad, an R-G employee and co-president of the union, the Eugene Newspaper Guild, "The unofficial reason the guild was given for her termination was that she had checked her email while on leave and had deleted one or more emails, which the company considered destruction of company property."

/Ah, another example of corporate retardation at its finest. She's on maternity leave, and costing them money, not MAKING them money, and i would have to believe that for this, she was fired. They just went with some bullshiat excuse to get rid of her in my opinion. You can't destroy something that physically doesn't exist. And, I'm sure whoever sent the email has copies of the email, and so do others. What a crock of shiat. She should sue their asses off, ill be on the jury.
 
2014-04-04 08:57:14 PM

MyRandomName: The Gentleman Caller: Oh good, I was wondering what the usual defenders were going to say.

Yes. So much simpler to live in ignorance and think every corporate action is an immoral act designed to inflict maximum pain on the innocent.


Not like anyone could easily switch that around the other way to cast aspersions on someone else in this thread, right? Heaven forbid that such a thing might be happening.
 
2014-04-04 08:57:55 PM
Sounds like clear discrimination as a result of her pregnancy to me.  If she hadn't worked there for 13 years, I might be more skeptic... but come on, within 3 weeks of her announcing pregnancy they began the paperwork trail for making a case for firing her?

Time to lawyer up.
 
2014-04-04 08:59:17 PM

FNG: What Blues_X  said.  Probably wouldn't win but getting the paper negative exposure and enough bad PR, always helps in a situation like this.


Not really.  If the paper gets screwed more people get laid off.  But, then again, there obviously are thousands of open, well paying positions at newspapers and magazines all over this country.  The hard cold reality is
that all news outlets have been getting rid of experienced and higher paid reporters and replacing them with cheap grunts, which is reflected in all of the news coverage of all the major news sources.
 
2014-04-04 08:59:53 PM

Alonjar: Sounds like clear discrimination as a result of her pregnancy to me.  If she hadn't worked there for 13 years, I might be more skeptic... but come on, within 3 weeks of her announcing pregnancy they began the paperwork trail for making a case for firing her?

Time to lawyer up.


Many working women wait until they absolutely have to tell their employers that they're pregnant for just this reason - less time for the employer to suddenly want to focus one very little interaction.
 
2014-04-04 09:01:18 PM
This is why I always print out my email.
 
2014-04-04 09:02:32 PM

Blues_X: Sue the sh*t out of those idiots.


She won't win.

She was on leave and when you're on leave like that you cannot do any work. If the company lets you do work while on leave it opens them to a lawsuit because "they made you work while on leave."

Leave is very different from vacation.

I think it's asinine but they're protecting themselves. And she was probably a coont anyhow.
 
2014-04-04 09:02:46 PM

gadian: Need_MindBleach: People have talked before about workplace discrimination against women due to the likelihood that they will become pregnant and thus less productive to the company. Most analysis of it just boils down to: "they shouldn't do that." Well guess what, companies don't care about fairness, they care about the bottom line.
How about this solution: Family leave. When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.

I thought FML was accessible to men already, they just feel less inclined to take it.


I took 2 weeks when my daughter was born.  I'd have taken more because my wife had a hard pregnancy and a c-section, but there was that whole "unpaid" part of the FMLA.  I'd gotten rather used being able to pay bills and buy food.
 
2014-04-04 09:03:27 PM
They might as well fire someone for destroying company property by flushing toilet paper. Even Lionel Hutz could make a slam dunk out of her case.
 
2014-04-04 09:06:46 PM

DarthBart: I took 2 weeks when my daughter was born. I'd have taken more because my wife had a hard pregnancy and a c-section, but there was that whole "unpaid" part of the FMLA. I'd gotten rather used being able to pay bills and buy food.


This is why I'm in favor of a paid stipend to any new parents similar to what they (combined) would have earned while working.  Have it last 3-6 months and then unpaid leave kicks in for another 6 months.
 
2014-04-04 09:10:19 PM

FNG: What Blues_X  said.  Probably wouldn't win but getting the paper negative exposure and enough bad PR, always helps in a situation like this.


You'd have to go back a generation or two to find a Baker who treated the R-G employee pool well. With the sharp decline of profitability in local news, these tactics aren't surprising. Note: they dismissed a freelancer (semi-retired award-winning former full-timer) who coincidentally helped with the farewell meetup for the fired reporter. Sad, the R-G was once a respectable outfit.
 
2014-04-04 09:10:42 PM
I suspect there's another side to this story.  The company tried to put her on a Performance Improvement Program.  That's a sign that there are issues of some sort.  The bit about the union having no knowledge of said issues is a canard, in general, the company doesn't contact the union with that sort of stuff so there's no reason that the union would know she was having difficulties.

As for deleting emails, she was on leave which means that someone else would have been monitoring what had been her inbox.  Deleting stuff out from under the person who's trying to do your job isn't generally a good plan.
 
2014-04-04 09:16:36 PM

Mr. Eugenides: I suspect there's another side to this story.  The company tried to put her on a Performance Improvement Program.  That's a sign that there are issues of some sort.  The bit about the union having no knowledge of said issues is a canard, in general, the company doesn't contact the union with that sort of stuff so there's no reason that the union would know she was having difficulties.

As for deleting emails, she was on leave which means that someone else would have been monitoring what had been her inbox.  Deleting stuff out from under the person who's trying to do your job isn't generally a good plan.


/with all due respect to your opinion, i have to disagree on both points.

1. Performance improvement programs are often given just to sqeeze one more spreadsheet or file out of you every day. Training doesn't automatically assume bad job performance

2. I know of no business who allow fill in workers to access a person's email who is on leave. The fill in would have their own email address to do their job.
 
2014-04-04 09:17:19 PM

Mr. Eugenides: I suspect there's another side to this story.  The company tried to put her on a Performance Improvement Program.  That's a sign that there are issues of some sort.  The bit about the union having no knowledge of said issues is a canard, in general, the company doesn't contact the union with that sort of stuff so there's no reason that the union would know she was having difficulties.

As for deleting emails, she was on leave which means that someone else would have been monitoring what had been her inbox.  Deleting stuff out from under the person who's trying to do your job isn't generally a good plan.


Yup. The article goes to great lengths to avoid disclosing what emails she deleted. There's a chance she was deleting emails that were relevant to a litigation hold and would have proved wrongdoing by her or someone else against the company. I'm sure copies of whatever she was deleting will surface in the inevitable lawsuit.
 
2014-04-04 09:18:39 PM

Boojum2k: Need_MindBleach: How about this solution: Family leave. When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.

There could be some unintended consequences here, but what the heck. I'm for it.


Such a policy would also be non-discriminatory towards gay couples adopting or taking custody of infants since it would apply equally to mothers and fathers. Of course as another poster has pointed out, it would need to be paid leave or it wouldn't work. But the United States is already way behind the rest of the first world on that issue, most of which make a period of paid maternity leave mandatory for companies. So that part of it would be breaking no new ground.
 
2014-04-04 09:22:12 PM

ReverendJasen: scottydoesntknow: Wouldn't that basically be a catch-all reason for termination then? My company gives me a paltry 250MB limit,

I work for an automotive manufacturer in the Fortune 500--and we still only get 100MB for our inboxes, including Outlook calendar bullshiat.

This is a very very obvious example of "we want to fire you, woman. for being pregnant, so we're going to make some shiat up."


I don't even know how much room I have in my inbox.  I have to autoarchive at 2 weeks or I get annoying messages saying it's almost full.  Makes it fun having to search through two places for old emails.
 
2014-04-04 09:25:58 PM

gadian: Need_MindBleach: People have talked before about workplace discrimination against women due to the likelihood that they will become pregnant and thus less productive to the company. Most analysis of it just boils down to: "they shouldn't do that." Well guess what, companies don't care about fairness, they care about the bottom line.
How about this solution: Family leave. When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.

I thought FML was accessible to men already, they just feel less inclined to take it.


True. Men in my company get Paternity leave along with FMLA, however I've never heard of more than a week used at a time. For women, if you can't sit comfortably for hours why torture yourself? Let your body heal while baby bonding.
 
2014-04-04 09:27:29 PM

wildcardjack: My mom the HR director would call this "creative dismissal". And if she's out on Family Leave Act, she litterally has a federal case.


Depends on the Corporate Email Policy. My former employer had a ridiculous (but completely legal) policy on email. This was especially true when it came to retaining certain types of email for archive purposes. Part of it was their own legal burden, most in fact, but some was CYA stuff.
 
2014-04-04 09:29:58 PM
Having RTFA, it sounds more like she didn't appreciate being switched from entertainment to politics and her work was suffering for it. They followed company policy by giving her write up for poor performance. She even admits that she was working hard to improve. If she sues, she'll lose.
 
2014-04-04 09:31:17 PM

Need_MindBleach: When someone has a new baby in their family, mother or father, they get a certain amount of paid leave for childcare. This would not only offer fathers more time with their babies, it would shift the employment burden from having a child from solely on the mother to being shared by both sexes. Thus there would be no particular reason to discriminate against women in hiring out of the worry about her taking pregnancy leave.


This is what they do in Europe. It also opens the door to just simply firing parents, but that's why "lazy fairy" capitalism doesn't work. A baby is a giant time sink. You need all your faculties to deal with one for months. Forcing companies to pay for mothers is essential, because given the choice, they're not going to keep giving money to someone for months on end like they were at work when they can't or won't come into the office if they can avoid it.

And that's really the big problem with capitalism. It encourages using people.
 
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