Maternity Heave

About to have a baby, Renee Bettis was passed over for promotion and then fired... by Babies "R" Us

For one, Bettis gave herself an excessive discount on a $129.90 cherry-red Bayberry Chest. That's a no-no, Nelson said, for two reasons. First of all, employees cannot ring up their own purchases, and furthermore, Bettis should have received only a 30 percent discount, not 40 percent. Bettis explains that another employee rang up her purchase. Neither of them realized she had been granted an extra 10 percent discount. When questioned further by Bettis' lawyer, Nelson conceded that he doesn't actually know who rang up the sale.

But that's not the only time Bettis slipped up, Nelson insisted in his report. Apparently, she was overly generous with the company's cold beverages. Her managers claim she gave out six soft drinks from the refrigerator to employees unloading merchandise that cost the company $8.25. Bettis' mistake was not immediately ringing the sodas through the register and paying for them with the company's petty cash. After she went back and created a receipt, as she says she was told to do, she was accused of falsifying the receipt.

Meanwhile, Nelson's audit also found that a male manager had been written up for failing to ring up batteries. But he was only issued a warning.

More than a year later, Bettis and her husband are still struggling to make ends meet. He took a $10-an-hour job with a lumber company to support the family through the pregnancy while continuing his schooling. Bettis gave birth to a healthy girl and found a job at a university, but she took more than a $10,000 pay cut and has no benefits.

"Sometimes I can't believe this really happened," Bettis says. "You have to go through these extraordinary means to make employers treat pregnant women right, even at a baby store."

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