Can I Be Denied a Job Because I’m Pregnant?

Federal law and the laws of most states prohibit employers from making job decisions based on pregnancy.

As in many areas of law, however, what the law requires is often quite different from what happens in the real world.

Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo! was famously hired while pregnant. At lower-profile companies and for lower-level positions, however, women have quite a different experience. Plenty of women have reported a potential employer losing interest once her pregnancy is revealed (or becomes apparent).

If you search the Internet, you will find some giving advice not to reveal your pregnancy, even when it’s physically obvious. This doesn’t seem like a sound strategy, however.

After all, your goal is to get a job with the company, where the people who hired you will be your managers and colleagues. To start the relationship off dishonestly might not work to your advantage in the long-term.

Some employers believe — mistakenly — that they are entitled to make hiring decisions based on pregnancy, because pregnancy leads to parental leave, which will cost the company time and money.

However, this belief is erroneous. Whether or not there’s an economic impact, employers may not decide who to hire based on pregnancy. After all, you may, like Mayer reportedly did, take only a couple of weeks of working maternity leave, then build a nursery next to your office so you won’t have to miss a beat while tending to your baby.

The whole point of laws prohibiting discrimination is that employers may not make assumptions, based on stereotypes or bias, about how real people are going to act.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (818) 918-5522 or online.

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