Dear Abby | Pregnant worker fears reprisal from ‘boys club’ management

Dear Abby: A few months ago, I informed my bosses I was pregnant. Within a week, they were trying to fire me and blame it on other things at work that made no sense and hadn’t been issues before. They made me sign a letter of reprimand in our first meeting about the “issues.”

I spoke with a co-worker who told me she had a similar experience when she announced her pregnancy. I work for a company with a “boys club” mentality, so I didn’t try to speak to HR because I was afraid for my already threatened job.

A couple weeks later, I miscarried and everything at work went back to normal. I actually got a raise a month later. Last week, I learned I’m pregnant again. My husband and I are excited about it, but I’m scared to tell my bosses for fear I’ll have a repeat of last time.

When should I tell them about my upcoming arrival? And is there anything I can do to protect my job? I have been looking for employment elsewhere, but haven’t found anything yet. I need this job or else I would have already left it. – Scared in Utah

Dear Scared: Pregnancy is a natural condition and you should not be punished for it. The first thing you should do is document everything that happened during your first pregnancy. Be sure to include what your co-worker told you happened to her, and how – after your miscarriage – all your problems at the office disappeared. Then schedule an appointment with an attorney to ask how you can protect yourself in the months to come.

Dear Abby: How do you deal with family members who always insist they are right and you are wrong? If their beliefs are 180 degrees different from your own, must you just grit your teeth and keep your mouth shut? How do you get them to respect you for the adult you are (they are only five years older), or is it even worth it? – Fuming in Florida

Dear Fuming: Sometimes the wiser course of action is to win the war by forgoing the battle. With people like this, steer the conversation toward subjects you can agree upon. If you can manage that, family harmony will become easier to achieve, and respect will follow.