TX baby clothing company faces backlash after firing new mom who asked to work from NICU

A new mom in North Texas asked her bosses at a Euless-based baby clothing company for permission to work remotely while her adopted son was in the neonatal intensive care unit. They told her no, and then fired her, Marissa Hughes’ sister said in a social media video.

The company, Kyte Baby, has been facing backlash after Hughes’ sister spoke about the situation in the video, Star-Telegram news partner WFAA-TV reported. She and her husband, Rawley Hughes, have been trying for three years to either have a child or adopt one. According to a GoFundMe asking for help covering expenses, they’ve been through IVF treatments, faced major complications and lost three babies in that stretch.

When on Dec. 29 they got a call that a 22-week-old boy, Judah, about nine hours away need adoptive parents, they said yes. The baby only weighed one pound and needed to be admitted to the neonatal ICU. But when she asked her bosses at Kyte Baby for permission to work remotely, Hughes’ sister said, Marissa Hughes was not only told no, she was fired, according to WFAA.

Kyte Baby CEO Ying Liu said in a TikTok she posted that she has been trying to reach out to Marissa Hughes to apologize personally. Liu said that the company is a family-oriented business that treats biological and non-biological parents the same. She said she has respect for “babies, parents and the adoption community.”

“However, such respect and good intentions were not fully communicated to Marissa in the discussion of her parental leave,” Liu said in the video. “It was my oversight that she didn’t feel supported as we always have intended.”

The original offer, Liu said in the video, was to “find her a position whenever she decides to return to work.” That’s still the offer the Euless-based company is giving her.

In response to comments calling for boycotts and saying the apology was scripted, Liu posted a follow-up in which she confirmed it was scripted and she memorized it.

“It wasn’t sincere and I’ve decided to go off script and just tell you exactly what happened,” she said in the second video. “I think sincerely what went wrong is how we treated Marissa and I was the one who made the decision to veto her request to go remote while she has to stay in the NICU to take care of her adopted baby.”

She said it was a “terrible decision” and the she was “insensitive, selfish and was only focused on the fact that her job had always been done on site.”

She said she cannot imagine the stress Hughes had to go through because of the situation.

“It really was a terrible mistake. I own 100% of that,” Liu said.

She added that changes will be made to the company’s policies.

Marissa Hughes posted a video on Facebook responding to the apology.

“While we really don’t think it would be appropriate for me to go back, we’re really encouraged to hear that there will be some changes made for current and future employees at the company,” Marissa Hughes said.

She and her husband are asking the community for help covering the medical expenses for Judah while she is out of a job.