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Can You Be Fired or Laid Off During a Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is often an exciting time, yet navigating employment during pregnancy can be daunting, especially when you have concerns about job security and maternity leave benefits. In Ontario and across Canada, laws are in place to protect pregnant employees, and if you are pregnant, you’ll want to be certain that you know and understand your rights.

At Soni Law Firm, we are the employment lawyer Toronto employees turn to when looking for support with a wide range of employment-related concerns. In this blog post, we will answer the question, can I be fired or laid off during pregnancy and help you know what to do if this happens to you.

Our post, Understanding How Employment Law Protects You as an Employee in Ontario, offers additional insight into how employees’ rights are protected in the workplace.

Can a Pregnant Person Be Fired?

At Soni Law Firm, we are often asked, can a pregnant woman be fired? The short answer is yes, but it is important to note that pregnancy or an upcoming maternity leave is not a valid reason for an employee to be fired. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is illegal to fire an employee because they are pregnant. If you’ve found yourself asking, can I be fired for being pregnant, the answer is no. However, being fired for reasons not related to pregnancy may still be lawful.

See our post, What Employees Need to Know About Layoffs, for more information on layoffs in Ontario.

What Happens If I Get Fired Before Maternity Leave?

If you are terminated before your maternity leave starts, the first step is to determine the reason for the termination. If you suspect that your pregnancy was a factor in your dismissal, there is a possibility that you have been wrongfully dismissed.

Contacting a dismissal lawyer is a good first step for any employee who has been fired. Be sure to document all relevant interactions with your employer and seek legal advice promptly after your dismissal. At Soni Law Firm, we will help you to understand your rights as an employee and determine the appropriate course of action.

Can I Be Laid Off While Pregnant?

Though many employees know that they can not be fired for being pregnant, they still wonder, can I get laid off while pregnant? It is true that a pregnant employee can be laid off. However, the reason for the layoff cannot be due to the pregnancy. If you’re wondering, can a pregnant employee be laid off, the answer will depend on your own unique circumstances, though it is always unlawful for an employer to lay off an employee because of their pregnancy.

What Happens If I Get Laid Off Before Maternity Leave?

If you are hearing talks of layoffs in your workplace during pregnancy, you’ll likely wonder, what happens if you get laid off while pregnant in Canada? It is true that pregnant employees are not exempt from layoffs. However, it is important to consider whether the layoff is for legitimate reasons or due to the pregnancy alone. If you are laid off during a pregnancy, you should speak with a human rights lawyer to ensure that your rights as an employee are being respected.

What Can I Do If I Am Laid Off or Fired During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy should be a time of joyful preparation, not professional anxiety. If you have been fired or laid off during your pregnancy, your first step should be to contact a workplace lawyer. Even if your termination or layoff is lawful, you could be entitled to additional severance pay due to the unique challenges that pregnancy can bring to your employment prospects.

At Soni Law Firm, we will help you understand and protect your rights as a pregnant employee. Contact us today to learn more about what to do if you get laid off while pregnant. We look forward to helping you get the compensation you deserve.

For more information on severance pay, see our post, How is Severance Pay Calculated in Ontario?

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About Post Author


Rahul founded Soni Law Firm, a boutique employment, labour, and human rights law firm, with the goal of taking his Downtown Toronto litigation experience and making it accessible to Ontario’s Main Street employees and employers.