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HomeNewsTexas-Based Baby Clothing Company Comes Under Fire for Denying Mom’s Remote Work...

Texas-Based Baby Clothing Company Comes Under Fire for Denying Mom’s Remote Work Request

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There has been a lot of controversy after a Texas-based baby clothing company, Kyte Baby, denied a remote work request by an employee. The employee had requested to switch to remote work because her baby was admitted into a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, the CEO of the company has apologized twice over the issue.

Marissa Hughes and her partner with their son in NICU.
Source: Karen Huggett-Grochowicki / Facebook

Last December, Kyte Baby employee Marissa Hughes and her partner decided to adopt a baby boy who had been born prematurely. The boy was born just after 22 weeks of gestation, and he weighed about a pound, and he had several health issues. Hughes created a GoFundMe page to crowdsource funds to keep up with NICU costs, adoption, and legal fees.

Due to the fragile state of her newborn, Hughes requested to work remotely so she could take proper care of her baby at the NICU. However, the company fired her. Hughes’ sister posted a TikTok video sharing the story.

The company’s decision sparked outrage on and off social media, and Kyte Baby’s CEO quickly apologized. However, many people on social media weren’t pleased with the first apology, calling it scripted. Nonetheless, Hughes took to Facebook to say she acknowledged the apology but wouldn’t return to work at the company.

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“We’re really encouraged to hear that there will be some changes made for current and future employees of the company,” Hughes said. Kyte Baby CEO and founder Ying Liu posted a video on TikTok last Friday to apologize to Hughes “for how her parental leave was communicated and handled.” She also added that “Kyte Baby prides itself in being a family-oriented company.”

Also, Lauren Jennings, executive vice president and communications strategist for Alison Brod Marketing and Communications, discussed the matter with CNN via email. “This is a classic case of a brand not walking the walk,” she wrote.

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“The same way we would advise our clients to be cautious about rolling out a campaign for International Women’s Day without having a single female on their board, we would advise a parenting brand to, of course evaluate how they approach maternity leave, working parent procedures and benefits. When you have a situation where consumers no longer see your brand for what (it) claimed to stand for, you almost always need to approach your crisis strategy with an abundance of vulnerability, ownership, and humanity,” she added.

In a second apology video, Liu said, “This was a terrible decision. I was insensitive and selfish … I cannot image the stress that she had to go through not having the option to go back to work and having to deal with a newborn in the NICU. Thinking back, it was a terrible mistake.”

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Furthermore, Kyte Baby told CNN in a statement, “Marissa was offered the standard package of 2 weeks of maternity time, but given her son’s situation, was unable to sign the 6-month contract. She did propose a remote option for her job, but given that her role was largely on-site, at that time, we did not feel that the proposed plan would fulfill the responsibilities of her current position. We told her we understood her situation and informed her that her job would be here if and when she opted to return.”

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However, Hughes said she would not be returning to the company. Also, Kyte Baby added that it would review its maternity leave policy.

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