Would you tell a prospective employer that you're pregnant? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-23-2004, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Should you? Dh, part-owner of a small consulting engineering firm, came home today miffed because he just found out that a new engineer he hired one month ago is pregnant and is due in mid-May. They didn't talk about specifics, but he assumes that she'll want to take the standard 3 month maternity leave, which means she'll be gone all summer. For civil engineers in our state, the summer is the busiest time of the year as that is when most of the construction takes place. This is a small office (less than 25 people) with only a few licensed engineers (one of whom is the pregnant woman), so to have one such person temporarily missing in the height of construction season is a concern.

I strongly believe that women should not be professionally penalized for having children, but at the same time I can see dh's dilemma. Just curious to hear what other people thought about this situation...

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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Old 12-23-2004, 03:57 AM
 
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One time I told (didn't get the job) and the next I didn't (did get the job). I don't feel anyone should be obligated, but in my experience I just felt like I needed to let the first know (referred by a friend, wonderful company, needed to hold onto my integrity), and not the second (desperate for a job, strange boss, didn't give a hoot about my integrity). I still don't know what the right answer is, and for the record, my matleave was 12 months, so when the time did come to tell my boss I was freaked. (In my defence, I was so newly pg at the time of being hired, anything could have happened).
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:02 AM
 
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I would tell a prospective employer. If they chose to discriminate against me for that , and I could prove it, I would make a case out of it ( not necissarily sue but - well I'm not sure how to word that to say what I mean ) anyway - I think that if I may be hired for a position and I know I will probably be out for any amount of time ( if I have a trip planned or certain days I know I can't work ) that it needs to be stated up front. Is this a long term position? or was it set up to fill a void that will be coming in the busy months?

If it was a shorter term position I think she would have been passed over - not because she is pregnant but because she wouldn't be able to do the job that she was applying for - and I think that is reasonable. As long as the criteria is the same for any applicant - say it was a short term position for busy months and a man comes in and says oh yeah but I can't work for these months due to an operation that will lay me up for a time ( but in the end would not prevent him from doing the job) - I think he should be passed over too. It isn't specifically because she's having a child.

I'm not sure I explained that well at all .
In short Yes - i think it is important that you give the information you have up front.

ETA disclaimer - this is my personal take on this - what I would do if I were pregnant and applying and what I would hope a potential employee would do if I were looking for help.

Myr: wife to John 8/98 and mommy to Willow 06/03, Rowan 04/07 and Linden 02/10
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommabear
One time I told (didn't get the job) and the next I didn't (did get the job). I don't feel anyone should be obligated, but in my experience I just felt like I needed to let the first know (referred by a friend, wonderful company, needed to hold onto my integrity), and not the second (desperate for a job, strange boss, didn't give a hoot about my integrity). I still don't know what the right answer is, and for the record, my matleave was 12 months, so when the time did come to tell my boss I was freaked. (In my defence, I was so newly pg at the time of being hired, anything could have happened).

I can understand your actions - I do think though I would be less understanding ( not on an emotional level ) about it if you were closer to delivering your child and didn't tell the employer - so you went in and worked for a short time and then took the leave right away.

Myr: wife to John 8/98 and mommy to Willow 06/03, Rowan 04/07 and Linden 02/10
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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No way would I tell a perspective boss. I don't care if it's "moral" or not, it's liek shooting yourself in the foot. Would your husband have hired her if he had known she was pregnant? Probably not.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:12 PM
 
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Absolutely not.

Pregnancy (usually) has no bearing on one's skills or ability to do the job well and those are the only valid criteria for hiring.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:14 PM
 
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i totally agree with khrisday.
i'd like to be hired (or not hired) for the position based on ability and not gestational status
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't tell them, unless it was blatently obvious that I was pregnant. I know that here, it's illegal for employers to ask you questions about your family status, including whether or not you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. You are not obligated to tell them at all. I know that it's against the law for them to discriminate against you for being pregnant, but it does happen, and it's almost impossible to prove. If you go into an interview, there could be dozens of other reasons they could use to say that's why you didn't get the job, even if the real reason is your pregnancy.

It's just not worth the risk of telling, imo. And it's not something that's any of their business, even if it does mean you'll be going on maternity leave eventually. Sure, it might be an inconvenience to them, but that's something that is a company's responsibility to deal with, not a pregnant women's.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:24 PM
 
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I was in a similar situation and didn't tell - I got the job, for what it's worth. I don't think women should be obligated to disclose the info - if a current employee needed to take a maternity leave, the company would no doubt work it out, so presumably they can find suitable arrangements in this case as well.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:27 PM
 
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no. as a matter of fact I didn't tell a prospective employer that I was pg. when they asked about start dates (I was due in late July) I told them that I would be able to start after labor day. I had 5 interviews with the company, they told 2 of my references that they were going to make me an offer within a week. I had my last interview at 37weeks pg - they noticed and I reiterated what I had told them for start dates (give how long the interview process took, and how long their hiring process takes, it shouldn't have been a problem). I had to call them two weeks later only to be told that they had hired someone else.

I did tell the other two companies that I applied with - had to as I interviewed with one of them when I was 4 days past EDD and didn't want to drive 2 hours to the interview - the HR guy drove to IC to do my interview. The position wasn't a good match for my skills, but if it had, I have few doubts that I would have gotten the position - they liked my background education.

FWIW, until they have offered me a job, they don't need to know. Once a job offer has been made, then they need to know. JMHO.

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Old 12-23-2004, 01:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitrizmom
FWIW, until they have offered me a job, they don't need to know. Once a job offer has been made, then they need to know. JMHO.
Bing-GO! No way, no how would I tell them, unless it was obvious and then I wouldn't have to.

I was in the military and left a job for 3 months for training. I was also fired from a job during my probationary period after a 3-week military training. Maternity leave really isn't that different than military leave or anyone else who has to take unexpected extended sick leave. It's better than some because it is more predictable and you can plan for it.

BTW - I don't think she is entitled to the 12-week leave if she has been there less than a year, but don't quote me on that.

Sounds like he was VERY lucky to get a licensed engineer.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 12-23-2004, 01:30 PM
 
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No, I wouldn't tell, and I didn't when I was pregnant with my first daughter.

In my state, I was NOT covered by the FMLA so my employer could have easily "let me go" when I needed to have my baby, but they graciously gave me 12 weeks and didn't make a big deal of it.

Although I don't think it would be to kind of your DH, he might check the laws in your state and make a decision from there.
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:10 PM
 
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They won't hire you if they know your pregnant. Sad but true.
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Old 12-23-2004, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is good to hear...I felt like she shouldn't have told dh about her pregnancy either because after hearing his reaction, I DO believe it would've affected his decision to hire her! However, I felt a little guilty for feeling that way because, well, he is my dh and this is going to leave him in a lurch come summertime.

Because his company is pretty small and everyone there knows each other really well, I think more than anything he feels like he got off on the wrong foot with this new employee (because she kept her pregnancy a secret).

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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Old 12-23-2004, 03:48 PM
 
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Is there anyway he can hire a temporary employee for the time she wants off for maternity leave? And have her train the replacement?

DH is a middle manager for a midsized software design company. In his office there are maybe 40 people. When on of his programmers told him she was pregnant (and taking the 1 year maternity leave) he hired another programmer 2 months before she left and had her train him to do her job while she was gone.

If I was your DH I would not hold it against her. She is just trying to get a job and keep it. I would hate for him to loose a licened engineer because she feels there is resentment there, kwim?
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