Bijal Mehul Soni

I was pregnant when my boss told me the words that I never thought I would hear: “NOT FIT” and “IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE, YOU CAN LEAVE!”

I had an unforgettable worst experience at my workplace. I was mentally and physically humiliated. It came to a point where I couldn’t eat at ease in the office. They continuously transferred me from one place to another, didn’t allow me to take breaks, and whatnot, just because I was pregnant!
It started with the final interview round where I was sternly told to join the company soon. As I needed to serve the notice period, I couldn’t. That was the first red flag for me. After joining the company, I was neglected at the peak. No work was assigned to me; my place got shuffled from Koregaon to Bandra and on and on! It started with all the mess, but I didn’t bother, as it didn’t affect my health till then. Things got out of control when they started making excuses and told me “NOT FIT” for the role.

They harassed me by stopping me from taking breaks, keeping a water bottle only in an outside locker instead of my work desk, and even applying many political tactics just to irritate a pregnant woman’s patience. I remember they tried to provoke my colleagues several times against me, but we talked our way out of it and resolved the matter on the spot.

Eventually, they started to say, “If you are not comfortable, you can leave!”. I knew they can’t do that formally because it is unfair to fire a pregnant woman without any cause. They started challenging my work capabilities. Once they spoke very rudely, and I had to answer, “You can’t talk to me like that!”. In my 8th month of pregnancy, I requested them to grant me work from home, but they cleverly tried to fool me by saying, “Take leave and come back whenever you feel fit”.

I started to face medical issues, then I decided to start the legal war. I began to compose emails, asked them to provide maternity leave, and backed up my research for every comeback for every situation they used to belittle me. Thanks to the civil laws and rights for expecting women, they had to accept my demands.

It is not about how I was denied my rights, but the struggle and humiliation I faced during the most happening phase of my life were horrifying. Workplaces like these are not a dream come true but a nightmare.

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