Being a working mom is one of the hardest jobs there is. You're constantly trying to balance your role as a mother with your career, and it can feel like you're never able to give 100% of yourself to both. Add to that the difficulty and expense of finding quality, reliable childcare, and it's no wonder working moms are always so stressed out! Sadly, the struggles of being a working mom often start before your baby even arrives. Maternity leave policies in this country are abysmal, and many families need to choose between being able to bond with their new baby and pay the bills. Women may be conflicting about announcing their pregnancies, and feel like their roles within their companies are in jeopardy when they prepare to take leave to have their baby. In some cases, women may even be fired or demoted for getting pregnant. Such seems to be the case for one Netflix executive, who is now suing the streaming giant for terminating her after she got pregnant.
Tania Zarek was a manager in Netflix's international originals division in 2018 when she got pregnant. She told the company she was pregnant in November of last year. That's when, according to Zarek, things began to change. She says she was treated differently at work and excluded from important meetings. The lawsuit alleges that Zarek's supervisor, Francisco Ramos, removed her from a show she working on without her knowledge, ignored her, and made rude and inappropriate remarks about her appearance.
Zarek did what you're supposed to do, and brought the matter to the attention of the human resources department. But instead of improving, the situation got worse. When Ramos called a private meeting with Zarek after the told HR what was going on, he became agitated with her responses to questions about her pregnancy and plans for maternity leave. He suggested that resign and take a payout with insurance. Zarek was terminated the following day.
All of this is incredibly disturbing, but it's made even worse by Netflix's own family leave policies. The company was praised in 2015 when it announced their very generous unlimited paid family leave program. Employees could take up to a year off following the birth or adoption of a child, either working part-time, not at all, or a combination of both, and enjoy full pay and benefits. Zarek's suit alleges that Netflix retaliates against employees who make use of the policy. Netflix has denied any wrongdoing, and said in a statement that a previous review of Zarek's claims determined they were unfounded.