Updated: Feb 22, 2021
A California mom is suing her former employer, claiming she was fired because her children could be heard in the background during work calls. Like many of us, Drisana Rios is working from home AND caring for her children during the coronavirus pandemic. Her story was recently featured on Good Morning America. You can read the story here. She accuses her supervisor of harassing her and discriminating against her because she's a mother. She says he complained about hearing her children in the background, and he ignored her when she tried to schedule calls during her children's nap times. She also alleges that when she reported him to HR, she was fired as retaliation. Her former employer, HUB International, has had little to say on the matter, as they can't comment on pending litigation.
I'm interested to see how this lawsuit plays out in court because it raises some very serious concerns about the treatment of working mothers. I'm really worried about women and the choices we're having to make right now. I do believe women are more empathetic leaders, and that's what the world needs in these troubling times. The economy will be better served by not pushing us out of the workforce. Rios hit the nail on the head when she wrote on Instagram, "IT’S NOT OKAY to have to feel that your boss is making you pick your work over your kids during these times!!!𝗜𝘁'𝘀 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗢𝗞𝗔𝗬!!!"
Furthermore, terminating someone when they are asking for an accommodation is risky. Employers and parents need to be flexible and look for creative solutions to new challenges. Sensitivity and compassion go a long way, especially in times of uncertainty.