You’re already aware that it’s illegal to discriminate against pregnant employees in the workplace, but what about during the hiring process?
You might be thinking it would be inconvenient to hire someone who will have to leave nine months after they get started, but if she’s the best candidate for the job, she should be hired.
“In most situations it’s better to wait to start the new job before sharing the news with employers.”
An issue that women have been struggling with for a long time
Though there have been laws created to protect women – specifically the Pregnancy Discrimination Act – women still enter interviews wondering if they should be honest or not. Forbes Magazine interviewed career and legal experts to see if honesty is the best policy in this situation. Although they reiterate that it’s illegal to discriminate, the source suggests there are many reasons why some choose not to reveal this information in an interview.
Salary negotiation consultant and founder of Equal Pay Negotiations. LLC, told Forbes that she believes in most situations it’s better to wait to start the new job before sharing the news with employers. Factors of this decision depend on how much having a child will impact daily duties, if the job can be done at a desk a pregnancy won’t necessarily get in the way. Expecting candidates can also choose not to tell their interviewer how far along they are. Forbes pointed out that many first trimesters don’t end up working out, so this decision is purely based on privacy. But when you get down to it, many women won’t tell employers simply because they’re afraid. Courtney Parker, a nurse practitioner, explained her decision to Forbes.
“I felt guilty not telling them during the interview because everyone who interviewed me was so nice, but I didn’t want it to affect their decision to hire me. I wasn’t so nervous about them worrying if I could perform my job while pregnant, but moreso that I knew I wanted to take 12 weeks of maternity leave and wasn’t sure how they would feel about it,” said Parker.
Consider this situation:
In December 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission got involved with a lawsuit against Shefa Wellness Center, who fired April Raines two days after she was hired when they found out she didn’t disclose her pregnancy during the interview. Raines explained that the employer had told her she was being let go for deceiving the company for not sharing her pregnancy. Of course, this violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and therefore Raines and the EEOC filed the lawsuit.
“Firing a woman simply because she is pregnant is simply against the law. EEOC will stand up for the rights of women to enjoy their rights to livelihood and motherhood – and not have to choose between them,” said Robert K. Robert K. Dawkins, regional attorney of EEOC’s Atlanta District in a release about the lawsuit.
Shefa will pay $37,000 to settle the EEOC pregnancy discrimination suit.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s illegal for companies to discriminate against treating pregnant women differently, even as a prospective job candidate. These types of rules need to be very clear to companies, and human resource outsourcing companies can help both expecting mothers and companies help navigate and negotiate the hiring process.