Job hunting while pregnant

Things are very unstable where I work. As a precaution, I have sent my resume to a couple of places.

My big worry: I’m just out of my first trimester of pregnancy. By Federal law, a potential employer shouldn’t discriminate against an applicant in any phase of gestation. Reality may be different.

In the off chance I get a job offer, is there a good way to address my changing physiology?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

I did that. I got laid off from my job in publishing right before 9/11. No one was hiring in the months that followed. I knew it was time to take the first job that came along after I had morning sickness all over an interviewer’s desk! I didn’t get the job but I’m sure he’ll never forget me. :smiley:

Just do the best you can. The employer I settled for (totally not in my field) was subtly furious at me after she found out I was three months gone. Then again I thought it served her right for putting an add on that had about eighty-five qualifications for a menial job that barely paid in the low thirties. I was vastly overqualified for the position. I only touched it because the job was very close to my house. After I left she hired a local high school graduate for $9 an hour. That’s what she should have done in the first place.

Good luck.

Not shouldn’t. Can’t.

Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination from the EEOC.

Good luck with reality.

This is definitely a case of “don’t ask/don’t tell.” Sure, it isn’t completely fair for your new employer to get an employee who will be taking maternity leave in a couple of months, but that’s one of the chances you take when you hire a new employee. You could also be a thief, or incompetent, or get injured on the job soon after taking it, or any number of other things that the employer won’t like. His complete happiness is not your problem.

Don’t mention it in the interview, and don’t mention it afterwards until your probationary period is up. Like Duckster says, they shouldn’t discriminate against you, but I wouldn’t give them the opportunity. What they don’t know can’t hurt you. It’s like looking for a job while employed somewhere - you don’t tell them you’re looking until you find a new job and it doesn’t matter if they fire you.

If the interviewer notices, they’ll either:
a) not bring it up and will “decide that another candidate fit better” (inside non-maternity clothes, that is)
or b) bring up their maternal benefits.

Wouldn’t employer b be nice? :slight_smile: And yes, they exist.

OTOH, it can also be a GREAT way to really enjoy those unemployment benefits (assuming you can afford to live on your husband’s income).

Staying home with your baby is financially risky and at times maddening, but a lot of women find themselves doing it. Even some who didn’t expect to.

Just a related story…years ago (pre-kids), I worked for a place that was hiring for an administrative-type position in a warehouse/dispatch center. I had nothing to do with the interviewing or hiring, but it was a fairly small place and I saw all the candidates as they walked through the office. One woman came in for her interview and she was huuuuugely pregnant. She came for her first interview with the warehouse manager, then we saw her come in for a second interview with the owner of the business and some of the other guys involved in the warehouse. They finally gave her the job and set into motion all the hiring paperwork. The women in the office asked how they were going to handle covering for the position when she was out on maternity leave. Out of the FIVE men who interviewed her (all of them fathers) NOT ONE of them noticed she was pregnant. And, did I mention, she was HUUUUUUUUGE? They were shocked! Everything turned out fine, she did a great job, and everything was arranged by the time she gave birth (and she ended up taking a very short time for maternity leave). Good grief, though, how clueless could they possibly be??

SOMETIMES (and it may be difficult to get a read on this) admitting your “vulnerability” puts you in a better situation…

i.e. the interview is going along really well. You are interviewing with a woman with pictures of kids on her desk and a crayon drawing in the background. You hit it off great. And somewhere you say

“Look, you can’t ask, and it probably isn’t wise of me to tell, but you should know I’m about three months pregnant. I think this is a great fit for me and I get the feeling you think it might be, too - and I didn’t want you to feel betrayed if you hired me when I started showing.”

SOMETIMES this becomes “wow, what a winner. This is an open and honest person that is looking for that long term and is already looking out for us and herself.”

(I did this with a six month old and one year old at home. Looked at the boss and said “here’s the situaton. I have two little kids and a husband with a demanding job. I’m going to be the one that is home when the kids get ill. I’m very interested in this job, but I don’t want it if that is going to become some huge point of contention.” Got the job and I know - years later - that one of the reasons I got the job was basically that.)

SOMETIMES this becomes “Next.”

I agree with the advice not to bring it up, especially if it is not physically obvious at the time of the interview. Once it becomes physically obvious, there are a few strategies: continue not to mention it, be honest and market yourself as primarily available after the baby’s birth, or do temp work until after the baby’s birth.

The right strategy will depend somewhat on the type of job. You should never have to mention it, but after reading long discussions on other boards, I have read some success stories of women who are open about it, and hostility toward women who “spring” this surprise on new employers, essentially poisoning the relationship. Yes, this hostility is totally unfair and violates the law, I’m not defending it, but I’m not denying it exists.

There are some things to consider in terms of the jobs you apply for. If you are looking for “just an admin job to pay the bills” working at a call center type job where a lot of employees are cross-trained might be a better fit than being the one admin who very closely supports all the details for a specific executive or program. Also, large companies and government generally are more likely to understand that they can’t discriminate.

If you are marketing your “madd mouse maven skillz” in a professional position, the strategy of marketing yourself as primarily available after the birth might be the right choice. For a professional position, employers are often willing to wait to fill the job with the right person.

Also, read up on FMLA and any state-level leave laws that apply to you. In general, you will not be entitled to FMLA leave if you haven’t been there a year, so it will be at the employer’s discretion to hold the position for you or invite you to reapply after your leave. This makes finding another job with your current employer a very attractive proposition, since the waiting period won’t apply, and any accrued sick leave will still be yours.

A reminder on the unemployment benefits: to collect, you need to be available to work and actively seeking employment.

They won’t just come out and tell you that they’re not hiring you because you’re pregnant, but most will use it against you. You are under no obligation to clue them in. I certainly wouldn’t. Shit…enough employers use small children as a reason to not hire someone. No sense in giving them additional ammunition.

If I were hiring in the US, I would feel uncomfortable if a candidate raised the subject of her pregancy and would frantically divert to a safer topic, while wondering “what the hell is she discussing her pregnancy for? So she can sue for discrimination if I don’t hire her? Why doesn’t she keep the conversation strictly on professional issues?”

OTOH, my mother once hired someone who was in the first trimester of pregnancy and said nothing about it during the screening process. My mother was furious, and it had a negative impact on their work relationship for quite a long time.

I know, I’m a big help. :smiley:

I hope you have the luck I did. I got a job this January, and I am due mid-May. My interviews were all via phone, so it did not matter if I showed or not. It was with the same company I had been working for, but the department I was hired by did not know until after I was hired.

Don’t mention your pregnancy until you are really hired and have some proof of that, preferably a paycheck. Then as soon as possible tell your boss in person followed by written correspondence. You may have better luck at larger companies who realize they have more to lose by discriminating. Legally, you are not required to tell them until hired, and legally they are not allowed to ask. By not telling them at the interview, you are helping them comply with the law.

Good Luck!

[nitpick] This is not technically true. As for most* of “interview no-no” questions, it is not against the law to ask. An applicant can’t march down to the EEOC and say an interviewer asked if she was pregnant and get the employer fined or issued a ticket or put in jail. However, if the applicant isn’t hired and wants to sue, believing she was in fact the best qualified and was discriminated against, this would be strong evidence to use against the employer in making her case. So it is almost certainly against company policy to ask, because it creates a legal risk. An employer is hard pressed to explain why they asked for the information if they weren’t going to use it.

  • Questions regarding disability actually are illegal under the ADA [

Perhaps they have internalized the Dave Barry Rule of Pregnancy Etiquette, which is: Never, ever refer to a woman’s being pregnant unless 1) she has told you or 2) there is an actual baby emerging from her that very moment.

Amen. There can be nothing worse than asking someone when the baby is due only to get the icy stare of death and be informed that she isn’t pregnant.

Oh yes, there is. There’s asking someone when the baby is due to be informed through tears that the baby died and the mother has to carry it for three more weeks before delivering a dead baby.

Never. Again.

Sweet. Jesus!? Excuse me, I’ll be in that corner clutching my teddy and sucking on my thumb. Ow! :eek:

I’m sorry. And it was actually really stupid of me to post in a thread not about that and started by a pregnant woman, no less. I’m really, really sorry. I’m giving myself a warning for being a jerk.

Against the law or not, proving that you did not get the job becasue you are pregnant, short of a wiretap admittance, is pretty much impossible. If it came down to it, they could say a million things were the reason you were turned down. And to be honest, why would a company hire someone if they can see the person is going to be missing a couple of months, at the bare minimum, very soon, unless you blow them away at the interview? I recently advised a pregnant friend, unless you need some money right now, wait until after the birth- it may save you a lot of fruitless interviews.

Do NOT reveal your pregancy. And good luck.