Should I Tell A Prospective Employer That I Am Pregnant?

More than a year ago I wrote about a piece in the New York Times, by Rob Walker (a/k/a “The Workologist”), who received a question from “Anonymous.”   Anonymous had been negotiating a new job and its relocation terms, and disclosed to the prospective employer that she was pregnant.

She did not get the job.  (No one said why).

Forlorn and upset, Anonymous asked The Workologist: “Should I have withheld this information?”

Citing an EEOC official, The Workologist told her that “[w]hile there’s nothing legally or even ethically misleading about waiting until you’ve accepted an offer (or even started a new job) to disclose a pregnancy, the timing of that conversation can be a very personal decision.”

Woman, Pregnant, Pier, Belly, Maternity

Title VII, of course, forbids discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, but The Workologist noted that “The problem here is that we can’t say definitively that the company chose to cut things off because of your pregnancy. And this gets to the heart of your question: The law may be clear, but the hiring process and job negotiations can be maddeningly murky.”

He said that “it might have been better to wait until, say, management had explicitly committed to conceding the deal-breaker relocation issue — rather than merely signaling its willingness to mull it over.”

I re-post this piece because I have been asked by employers about this very issue.

So I ask readers — is Anonymous’ advice (such as it is) OK with employers?

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]