How to Combat Pregnancy Discrimination in Hiring Processes (+ FAQs)

Three-quarters of American women will become pregnant at least once while employed, according to a Recent research. With as many as 64% Of Americans looking for or considering a new job, it is likely that many women will go through the application process and recruitment during pregnancy.

One concern of expectant mothers is that recruitment managers will be biased against them, even if they are the most suitable candidates. You might think “Who would want to hire someone who will need 3-4 months off in the first year of work?

Although this is a common concern, pregnancy discrimination is illegal. If you are trying to conceive or are pregnant while looking for work, it is essential to know your rights and look for the next signs of discrimination. Use the following guide to empower you on your career journey.

Understand the protections for pregnant women

God Civil Rights Act of 1964 Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Over the years, two more amendments have strengthened the legislation.

First, in 1978, e Pregnancy Discrimination Act Repair (PDA) requires employers to treat pregnancy using the same rules that apply to other short-term disability cases.

Then, in 1993, with the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), new parents became entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new child. To qualify, an employee had to work for the employer for 12 months. This rule applies to businesses with 50 or more employees.

God Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Enforces these laws. Most countries have Additional rules Fight discrimination in pregnancy at work and in the workplace.

Recognition of discrimination in pregnancy

The PDA not only protects pregnant women but also recent mothers. It also covers discrimination on the basis of medical conditions caused by pregnancy or childbirth.

It is important that you know what discrimination can look like at the candidacy, recruitment and joining stage of a new job. One nerve-wracking aspect of a job search may be to tell your new employer that you are pregnant after you were hired (another stage where discrimination may occur).

To advance your understanding, here are some examples of pregnancy discrimination:

Refusal to employ pregnant candidates

If a candidate can perform his job, an employer can not refuse to hire a woman because of pregnancy. It is also against the law to ask a candidate about her fertility plans. So do not feel that you have to answer every question related to family planning during the recruitment process. However, employers may ask when and how often a job applicant is available.

Failure to change debts

Pregnancy is not a disability. But by law, employers must apply the same rules to pregnant workers as temporary workers. A pregnant worker may need to change her job, for example, sitting instead of standing. Employers are required to make the same adjustments they would make for any other employee with a short-term disability. So do not worry if an aspect of the work may be difficult later in your pregnancy.

Withholding maternity leave

If a company allows an injured employee to go on disability leave or unpaid leave, she must do the same for a pregnant employee. After a pregnancy-related absence, employers must hold open employment for the same period of time during which they are held on leave by employees. In other words, you cannot be fired after returning from maternity leave (for no other reason).

Offers inadequate health coverage

Making sure you have the right health insurance when you start a new pregnancy job can be stressful. While you do not want to reveal that you are pregnant, you also want to make sure you have adequate coverage.

Employers must provide health insurance coverage for pregnancy-related conditions in the same way as other medical expenses. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, prohibits insurers from refusing to cover pregnancy as a pre-existing condition.

Regardless of your policy, it is essential to do your research. as Health markets Explains, “Maternity care is a vital health benefit, and all qualified HMOs must cover it, even if you are pregnant before your coverage takes effect.” They recommend checking out Benefits Summary and Coverage Page Which will list pregnancy costs both before and after delivery. During the job offer phase, ask to see documentation for the company’s HMOs and ask if they have any kind of waiting period before the coverage takes effect.

You are fired because of the pregnancy

The PDA prohibits discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy in any aspect of the transaction, including termination of employment. So you can not be fired based on the fact that you are pregnant, there must be another justifiable reason.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnant Work Hunting

Do not despair of some of the challenges that job search may pose. Here are some common questions about launching a successful pregnancy job search.

Do I have to tell potential employers that I am pregnant?

There is no legal obligation to tell potential employers that you are pregnant. Moreover, candidates in their first trimester usually keep this information to themselves.

Okay, I know I should not reveal, but should I?

It depends. If it’s in early pregnancy and you do not show up, you can wait until you are a final candidate or you get an offer. If you are in your second or third trimester and looking pregnant, this may be obvious when you get to the interview. Just remember that you are not obligated to discuss this during the interview process.

How should I promote a conversation with my potential employer, should I choose to disclose?

When the time is right, it helps to get a Plan to reveal your pregnancy With employer. If you expose during the interview, state that you will manage your projects so that your vacation will have a minimal impact. Emphasize that you are committed to the job and intend to return after maternity leave.

Moreover, do not stress too much. Remember that companies want to employ you long-term, and make an investment in your future with their organization. A supportive employer with the right mindset will not see a few months of vacation as an unsolvable problem.

Can I take maternity leave immediately after starting work?

It depends on your employment status. According to the FMLA, you are not entitled to leave for up to 12 months of work. However, many companies have personal birth policies, so talk to your HR team to understand them.


In addition, employers must treat pregnancy as any other disability. So if other workers are allowed to return after a short-term disability, so will you. You are entitled to a leave that your doctor advises for recovery. (Usually 6-8 weeks Depends on your birth.)

How can I assess how much the company supports working parents?

For parents, the definition of a good job includes a family-friendly culture. Here are some clues that indicate a company with a good work-life balance.

  • Look for family-friendly words: If the company description or job post mentions words like “family friendly,” “work-life balance,” or “flexibility,” that’s a good sign.
  • Check out the benefits: Check to see if the ad mentions child care, comprehensive insurance coverage, adoption assistance or other family-related benefits.
  • Pay attention to debts: Pay attention to the percentage of travel required and if long hours or weekends work are mentioned.
  • Be attentive in interviews: Ask questions about a typical workday. Do they have flexible work schedules that include remote work? You can also ask about work culture and current employees to find out if other parents enjoy working there.

Overcoming pregnancy discrimination while hunting for work

Although it is illegal, pregnancy discrimination is, unfortunately, still common. From 2016 to 2020, there was a 67% Increase in cases of discrimination filed in federal court.

Finding a pregnant job may not be an ideal timing, but many women have done so successfully. Try to start early in pregnancy, if possible. Learn about your rights so you can navigate with confidence in your job search. Look for a family-friendly company. And most importantly, do not worry! Not only is the stress harmful to the future mother, but you are protected by law and must be treated with respect and courtesy throughout this process.

Happy job search and family planning!

Tracy Ring is a freelance writer and content marketer. She brings a true perspective to her writing from 10+ years of diverse experience, including human resources, project management, client and client relationships and managerial roles. Connect with her further LinkedIn or Twitter.


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