Every three seconds somewhere in the world a baby is born, with an average of over 130 million live births annually. Given that in the United States, nearly half of the workforce is female, it is inevitable that there are bound to be a lot of pregnant job seekers! So what is a woman to do?
The current law in the U.S. does not require a pregnant job seeker to disclose this information. Employers cannot legally discriminate against a woman for being pregnant and once an offer is extended, they are also not allowed to rescind that offer based on pregnancy. A pregnant woman has every right to apply for a new job without revealing her situation. While there are ethical and trust issues to consider, let’s first look at the why it makes sense to keep your pregnancy to yourself when interviewing:
- Let’s face it. While it is not legal to discriminate, there is still tremendous discrimination against pregnant women. From the perspective of an employer, it is certainly understandable they would not want to knowingly hire someone who is going to be out for several months within a relatively short time period after their start date.
- Nobody has a crystal ball. While women hope their pregnancies will go smoothly, the sad truth is that women miscarry all the time. Typically women don’t even tell some of their family members about being pregnant prior to the three-month mark for this very reason.
- While it may seem dishonest to withhold this information during an interview, telling an employer you are pregnant should be done on a need to know basis. You may, in fact, be the best person for the job. Why risk being turned down unnecessarily?
Be aware that if you start a new job while pregnant you may not be entitled to paid leave or medical benefits covering your pregnancy. While you do not have to tell your prospective employer that you are pregnant during the interview process, it may be wise to tell them before you start your new job. You are likely going to be showing within a few months and it will seem dishonest if you don’t say anything.
It is likely they won’t be totally thrilled to find out, but they will be more understanding if you come clean early in the process. Also, if you do not like the way they react, it may be an indication that you should not accept the position after all. If the company is not family friendly, it may not be the place for you. By telling your new employer about your pregnancy once an offer has been extended, you can have an open discussion about flex hours and possible opportunities to work from home. You will be in a better position to negotiate.
While you may be pregnant, it does not mean that you are not going to be a tremendous asset to the organization. Husbands who are job seeking and have pregnant wives at home don’t need to disclose their status during the interview process and neither should you. Having babies is an average occurrence. While it may pose a brief inconvenience for an employer, it should not become a deterrent to seeking the best job possible. You deserve to do a thorough job search and give yourself as many possible career options as possible, pregnant or not!