ASK the Recruiter–Job Search While Pregnant

Dear Bloggingforjobs:

I love your blog! I have been actively searching for a couple months for a new position in public relations. Several weeks ago, I discovered I am pregnant. When should I tell the employer I’m expecting? I’m afraid that if I tell them now, they won’t hire me, but I’m also afraid that if I don’t tell them, they’ll fire me. Help!!!

Reader X
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Dear Reader X,

First off, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, pregnancy should be treated the same as any other short term disability. The EEOC website advices employers to treat pregnant applicants and employees the same as everyone else. A candidate cannot be discriminated against and not promoted or selected for a position because she is pregnant. However, the act of discrimination in relation to being pregnant is often hard to prove. I would recommend holding off spilling the beans to your new employer until absolutely necessary. While I trust most companies, there are those that do make hiring decisions based on only your qualifications. I recommend doing your best to keep the prospective company from giving you any reason to disqualifying you for the position.

Secondly, a company is not allowed to terminate your employment because you are pregnant. Depending upon if you qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act or FMLA, your job would be protected while you are on Leave of Absence and maternity leave. Since you will be starting a new job and will not have worked at the new company the required 12 months and 1,250 hours in a rolling year period, you won’t qualify for FMLA. However, most companies are flexible if given the appropriate amount of notice. I recommend speaking with your manager and human resources a month before the due date approaches or sooner. Use your best judgement.

To learn more about FMLA, and the specific rules and guidelines visit the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/. To learn more about the EEOC visit http://www.eeoc.gov/.

Kind Regards,

Jessica

***I will kindly mention that I am not an employment law attorney. If you have a specific question or situation, I recommend contacting the EEOC or an employment law attorney.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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