Having Your Kids On a Work Zoom Is Fine, But This Mom Was Fired For It
This is not okay.
These past few months have been a struggle. Ask any working parent how they have been coping with juggling their work, being responsible for their kid’s remote learning, and having them home 100% of the time and you’ll likely be met with a giant sigh. It’s been hard, for everyone. Even seasoned parents who are used to working from home, the struggle has been more than we anticipated.
However, companies and workers have had to jump headfirst into this new reality and make it work. Companies and their workers have shifted their every day to accommodate working from home, there has been extended flexibility given to parents who now have to dual duty their work and home life, losing all balance and doing the best they can.
There have been some amazing stories of companies doing just that, but unfortunately, not everyone has the support from work—including Dris Wallace, a blogger from San Diego, who worked full-time in the financial industry.
In a now-viral Instagram post, Dris says she was fired from her full-time job with no warning. According to her post, she was told she “had a bright future” and was doing well in her role, however was fired in the middle of the pandemic, not because the company could no longer financially stay afloat, but because her kids were too loud on Zoom calls.
“28 days ago I finally had enough of the discrimination that my boss was giving me for him not being okay with hearing my kids in the background on calls,” she wrote on the social platform on June 23, 2020. “He wanted me to figure out a way to keep the kids quiet. I went to Human Resources with proof of what was going for the last 3 months and 7 days later AFTER that I got fired!” she continued.
Dris has two young kids who are both under the age of 5, and she put her all into her work to make sure the pandemic and juggling her kids didn’t impact her performance.
“I have worked around the clock from home while watching my two toddlers,” Dris wrote. “I have met all the deadlines they have asked me for, even the unrealistic ones. The situation that I had endured the last 3 months is beyond stressful. How does a company that says that they understand and will work around the schedule of parents do the complete opposite with their actions? I’m devastated. I have poured hours, tears, sweat, delayed giving my child a snack when he wanted one because my boss needed me to do something right away. And what did I get in return? FIRED!!!”
Dris’ workplace knew she was juggling both her career and caring for her kids during this unprecedented time. And anyone who has young children and tried to get a moment of quiet to be able to have a conversation on the phone can attest to the challenges of keeping little ones quiet the whole time. There have been countless jokes since the pandemic started about the funny things we’re now seeing on Zoom calls with our coworkers, kids are expected.
Unexpectedly being thrown into all these changes – working from home, distance learning with our kids, zero help allowed from the outside – is hard for everyone. Working full time and being a full-time caregiver to our kids is wildly unsustainable, there has to be an ebb and flow of expectations. If Dris was nailing all her deadlines, but her kids made a little noise during a call, that’s incredible what she was able to juggle and she should be propped up for that, not fired.
And that’s why she’s speaking out because she’s not the only parent doing their best during this time. “I’m going to fight for every mom that has gone through this. It’s not okay to have to feel that your boss is making you pick your work over your kids during these times.”
To help fight for her rights, Dris has retained counsel since gender discrimination and retaliation is illegal and that’s exactly what happened in her case. Daphne Delvaux, Esq., who is also a working mom, is fighting on her behalf. She shared in her own Instagram post that she and Dris have filed claims in the San Diego Super Court.
“Please take comfort in knowing that the law is on our side,” Daphne said. “Justice will be served.”