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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

When the stick turns blue

A few months ago, Attorney Friend was interviewing for a new job. She and her husband were not actively trying to get pregnant, but not actively protecting against it either. That nugget of personal information really does not seem appropriate or relevant to share with a potential employer. Or is it?

Two days after she got the job, the stick turned blue.

Offering up any information about tentative plans to reproduce only gives company a reason to lean towards a comparable candidate without such plans. To be fair, there must be employers out there ready to hire a woman on the spot for being so forthcoming and honest. But taking that chance, I do not recommend. Why give a potential employer any reason to discriminate?

If you are already pregnant while job-hunting, how much should be divulged to a possible employer? Babs commented that a friend "didn't mention to her new employer, during the interview process, that she was pregnant and waited to tell them until (she)…was four months pregnant. She felt it would hurt her chances of getting the job if they knew before hiring her."

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against women, whether or not they are pregnant. Still, whether it is conscious or unconscious, I am sure that women of childbearing age are discriminated against occasionally anyway. Babs also said she interviewed for jobs while she was pregnant and wondered if an employer would "resent that I had withheld the information?" A pregnant person is entitled to a job just as much as anyone else. If the employer resents it, that is their problem.

If a woman is qualified, it should not matter whether she is single, divorced, old, young, white, African-American, pregnant, thinking about adopting a baby, or planning on becoming pregnant. Qualified is qualified. Period.

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