A mother-of-two, hailing from San Diego, California, filed a lawsuit against her employer alleging that she was fired because her boss thought her kids were "noisy".
Drisana Rios worked as an insurance account executive at Hub International, an insurance brokerage firm. She has been working from home since mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Rios, mother of two children, aged 1 and 4, filed a lawsuit on June 5 against her employer, suing them for gender discrimination and wrongful termination. She said her boss thought her kids were noisy and that they could be heard during her work calls with the clients.
"He said, 'The kids could be heard on business calls with clients. It's unprofessional,'" Rios said.
Rios said when she asked if he wanted her to lock her kids in a room, and the employer allegedly responded, “Figure it out.”
“It was so heartless. I felt degraded as a mother. Who says that? He is a father himself. That was a breaking moment for me,” said Rios.
Rios posted a photo on her Instagram in which she is seen carrying her infant while her daughter stood next to her holding a sign that reads, "My mommy got fired because her boss didn't want to hear me in the background."
In the complaint, Rios alleged that closures due to the pandemic left her with no child care options. She said she was working while she also took care of her children.
“He was setting expectations and didn’t want to hear children on calls. He wanted complete silence,” Rios recently told the New York Post on July 2.
The 35-year-old also claimed that her boss continued to “harass” her by scheduling work calls during the lunch hour even though she told him her current schedule allowed her for afternoon calls only.
“I continued to be available throughout the whole day. There were late nights so I could meet deadlines. I was a team player, and I did it with two young kids,” she said.
A spokesman from the company, responding to the allegations, told the New York Post, "While we can't comment on pending litigation, HUB is proud to have successfully transitioned 90% of its 12,000-plus employees to working remotely from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
However, Rios said it was not her story alone, adding that she was aware of other families trying it hard to find a balance between their family and work life.
“There are other mothers out there who are afraid to speak out,” she told local media. “I just hope we can find justice for myself and any other mom who has been treated this way.”