Are you pregnant and interviewing? Have you ever questioned whether to disclose this personal (completely non-relevant) information to the potential employer? If you have asked this question the below information could be helpful.
This is a question that has come up several times over the course of my career and I’ve consulted with both men and woman HR professionals about this topic. Interestingly more often the men I’ve spoken to felt full disclosure is best. However, a majority of women agreed that pregnancy is a temporary “condition” and does not have ANY direct impact on a woman’s knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job, therefore it is not relevant information for a future employer to know. (NOTE: Not ALL men felt one way and ALL women felt another way. This information is based solely on my memory.)
Earlier in my career I witnessed a very blatant pregnancy discrimination situation during the interviewing and selection process. I informed the decision makers about a little something called …..wait for it…… The Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The decision makers were surprised that such an Act existed, which I found shocking!! This experience opened my eyes to the potential discrimination issues that could arise with pregnancy and interviewing. My simple interpretation of the Act is: legally employers cannot make employment decisions based on pregnancy. That being said I would recommend approaching the topic with caution as some employers can be smart, or stupid, however you look at it and can find completely legitimate business reasons not to extend an offer or to retract an offer once they learn about a pregnancy.
So back to the question, Do I tell a potential employer about my pregnancy? I will answer with more questions. Based on your interactions with the potential employer ask yourself:
- Is the company culture family friendly?
- Does your potential future boss have a family or has he/she mentioned anything about their company culture regarding families and work-life-balance?
- Do you know anyone that works for the company? If yes, can you find out more about the culture?
Obtaining a better understanding of the employers perception and culture could help guide you to the “best” decision. As a working mom you need to do what is best for you and your family, you are your own company in that moment. However it’s important consider the company’s perspective and business needs.
In a worse case scenario say you exercise full disclosure and the company withdraws you from consideration or retracts an offer. You can either A: Pursue legal counsel (good luck) or B: Thank your luck stars from saving you from a crappy employer that does not care about work-life-balance.
I want to hear from you, especially any of the legal experts and attorneys!