Pregnancy and the job search! (I hope this isnt a double post)

Tam - posted on 12/19/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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So, here comes what I have just found out is a rather debated question.



If you are pregnant, and unemployed, when do you tell your prospective employers of the impending baby?



This actually relates well to me. I will be losing my job in less than a month. I will be just over six months pregnant. I happen to be one of the lucky ones who doesn't really look pregnant, even though it's an advanced pregnancy.



I also have a job interview on Tuesday. During my phone interview the HR manager seemed very enthusiastic and wanted to get me in for an in-person interview with the hiring managers pretty fast. I didn't mention the pregnancy during the conversation, but I think I will probably do so towards the end of the interview with the hiring managers.



Here's the thing. It's not legally required to mention a pregnancy, nor is it legal for interviewers to inquire. It's also incredibly hard to prove discrimination in this job market - all they have to say is that there was another more qualified applicant.



I've read a lot of opinions and they seem about 80% in favor of not telling until there is a concrete offer of employment. However, I don't think that I can personally keep it a secret. I think that if I were to mention it after the hiring process, I would be seen as untrustworthy at best, and at worst, a purveyor of falsehoods. It might put me under the microscope for termination if my future employers decide they're pissed enough.



So, what do you think? To tell, or not to tell?

19 Comments

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Sylvia - posted on 12/22/2011

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Tam, that's awesome :D Congrats!

Sherri, I probably should've guessed Tam was in the US, but anyway I was just speaking from my own experience -- I haven't interviewed as a job-seeker for over 10 years, but I have hired a lot of people over that period, so I guess I tend to see things from that perspective. I would want a potential employee to be honest, even if I were living somewhere where the amount of maternity leave is barbaric :P

Tam - posted on 12/22/2011

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Looks like I'll be getting an offer by the 3rd!

The company is going through their holiday shut down, but I got a call from the recruiter today saying she's pretty much certain I got it. The offer just has to be approved through management and that won't be finalized until after the first of the year.

I'm glad I was honest about the pregnancy, too. It makes me feel better about myself. I hate to lie by omission.

Vicki - posted on 12/22/2011

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So..... did you get it?

I only just read this now, not sure what I would do tbh!

Sylvia - posted on 12/22/2011

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Wow, this is a tough one. I mean, I would be annoyed if I hired someone who turned out to be six months pregnant, and I then had to spend weeks training her only to have her go on leave for a year. Three months is barely enough time to post the maternity contract, get through the interview process, and get a(nother) new person hired and trained. OTOH, no, you're not legally obligated to mention it, and I'm not legally permitted to ask.

For me, I think I would tell right up front. Of course, if *I* were 6 months pregnant it would be totally obvious LOL. I gave birth in August and already needed maternity clothes in like March or April.

Or, um, what Becky said.

Bonnie - posted on 12/21/2011

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Honesty can go a long way. I would rather be honest and possibly not get the job then keep it from them.

Tam - posted on 12/20/2011

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I ended up telling them, just as planned. And for the record, no, they aren't a small company. It's actually a corporation that holds quite a few large DOD contracts. And the reply when I told all three of the interviewers?

A resounding shrug and, "So? You can still do the job. And we have a pregnant woman working out there right now, no worries." All of the interviewers were male, by the way. I guess I just got lucky.

They also told me they appreciate me forthrightness and honesty, and before I left the interview the manager said I did very well and seemed quite sincere. I am pretty sure I am on his list of recommendations to hire that they give to the HR office.

When I spoke with the HR manager for the exit interview, she commented that I'd been back there for quite some time, and that was a good sign. (I think it was only supposed to be an hour interview. I was back there for two.) And she said if I didn't hear back from her by two tomorrow, to give her a call. She said hopefully she'd know the results by tomorrow or Thursday, otherwise it'd have to wait til after the new year.

I think in the end I feel better for having been honest about it, even though I know it is not required to disclose.

I think at this point, the only thing that might keep them from offering the job is if someone with more qualifications comes by. I doubt it, too, since they were really excited about my current security clearance.

Thanks for the input, by the way.

Jodi - posted on 12/20/2011

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I am going to ask whether it is a small business employer or a large business. It costs money to employ people, and small business can be at a real disadvantage financially if they hire someone who is likely going to be off work in 10 weeks, especially if they have to replace them temporarily, or if duties are reduced, find someone who can fill in on those duties. Personally, I'd be pretty pissed if someone did that to us in our small business. A large corporation/business could absorb it, but a small business couldn't and shouldn't have to. Just saying.

Lady Heather - posted on 12/20/2011

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My sister tried to find work being honest about it and didn't get a job. She finally decided to lie and got the very next job she applied for. I really don't think that's a coincidence. It's pretty damn easy for them to come up with a reason why they didn't hire you. I imagine it would be very difficult for you to prove it was pregnancy and it wouldn't be worth your time to pursue in most cases.

I figure everyone is looking out for #1 so you might as well too. My sister just didn't mention it and acted like it was a surprise to her a couple months later. lulz. I don't think I could carry on that charade. She's a very good liar. But I could totally withhold the info and let them know at the legally required time. If they bitch about it, well...I guess that's too bad for them.

[deleted account]

All employers know that, when hiring a woman of childbearing years, that there is a possibility she could get pregnant or be pregnant.

Becky - posted on 12/19/2011

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Well, I wouldn't be looking for a job at 6 months, only because you have to work 600 hours in order to get full maternity benefits here, and since mat. leave is a year here, I'd want to make sure I got those 600 hours! But if I were job hunting, I would tell them, I hink. I'd just feel bad being dishonest about it. Like someone else said, what if they hire you and then you have complications that keep you from working shortly afterwards? That seems pretty unfair to the company if they didn't even know that was a possibility when they hired you!

Tam - posted on 12/19/2011

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One of the major complications in my particular field is that pregnancy actually does limit what duties I can perform. I am an aviation electrician, so in a normal day I can expect to work with electricity, sealant, solder, grease, fuel, oil, lubricant, antifreeze... basically, if a machine can use it, I can come into contact with it. However, the job I am applying for is 'clean' compared to most jobs in my field - building cabling harnesses for use inside the aircraft. It's a workshop atmosphere, so no actual planes or flightline or vibration, noise, and exposure to the elements. The only thing I can possibly be limited with would be soldering (which, according to military specs, lead solder is no longer used. But it still has some nasty chemicals in it regardless.)

I am used to the way pregnancy is handled in the military, so I'd likely only need about 6 weeks of leave, barring complications. I'm told that is quite a bit less than the norm, but I wouldn't know. Also, as of the time of my interview, I will be 22 weeks. I doubt I would be able to make it the 90 day probation before I actually had the babies.

I've pretty much decided, after talking to my husband, that I will probably tell them at the close of my interview tomorrow. I want them to talk to me and at least entertain my skillset before throwing a curveball like this. That way, if they want me bad enough they will work with me and if they are willing to hire me with full knowledge that I am pregnant, they will likely be a company I will be happy to be with long-term.

Tinker1987 - posted on 12/19/2011

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before i found out i was pregnant i stepped down from my assistant manager job,it was stressful and i hated going to work,so i babysat for a friend technically i was on a stress leave from work because my manager so badly didnt want me to quit i was one of their best employee's, so when i suspected i was pregnant i gave my notice to my friends and decided to get my job back so i can have a maternity leave pay. i ended up telling my boss straight up that i was pregnant,i also said i dont want to be over worked and stressed and only wanted part time work,and she was supportive and very flexible. if i was looking for work anywhere else, i probably wouldnt tell them until i was past the 3 month probation period,in 3 months you can get let go for next to no reason, but once your past the period they need a good reason..

[deleted account]

I'm on the fence with this one. Legally, pregnancy is not a grounds for discrimination. However, what if a serious complication arises in 4-5 weeks from now, rendering you unable to work. What if you need to remain on bedrest? What if baby needs to arrive early, as in my case-4 weeks early due to onset of kidney failure? What if your baby requires additional care after birth? Unplanned C-section? Your health, and your baby's health is the primary responsibility and an employer is not required to save a job that is outside the guidelines of the Family Medical Leave Act (that is if you are in the U.S.) Furthermore, an employer hires someone with the expectation that the work is actually performed. Who would be performing your job duties while you are out on maternity leave? Would that be left up to the rest of the staff to pick up the slack? The position you are seeking is managerial, so that leads me to believe you would need to be in charge of a staff making directive decisions. Nothing is worse than a manager that simply "isn't there" when a problem arises. Please don't read into this to think I am unsupportive of your concern right now. It's just like I said earlier, I'm on the fence. It's a similar scenario that we had in school earlier this year (I'm a teacher). A new math teacher was hired, and then 5-6 weeks into school he scheduled a knee replacement surgery. There were complications and he was out longer than anticipated. Ultimately, the students suffered, the work load shifted from substitute to substitute, and then the teacher decided not to return to work. Complications can easily happen with a pregnancy. Good luck to you whatever you decide.

Elfrieda - posted on 12/19/2011

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That's tricky. I might be more on the side of telling, just to be totally honest. But if you're planning on only taking a month or 3 off for adjusting to the baby, I don't think it should make much difference to your employers. If you're the right person for the job, they are better off waiting for you to be ready to start. They might look that long anyway. I think if you tell them, you should also tell them what your plans are for working after the baby is born, too.
But I wouldn't blame you if you didn't say anything, either.

[deleted account]

Oh, boy. I lean towards telling the prospective employer. If you withhold, your being dishonest in a way. If you tell, and they hire you anyways, you'll know that they are an employer that values family and they hired you even with the knowledge that you'd need some time off in the near future. That would be a pretty fantastic employer and you won't be starting off on the wrong foot so to speak.

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