August 12, 2019

I have previously posted a tip of the week advising companies not to terminate pregnant employees because they are pregnant and failed to disclose the pregnancy during the employee’s interview. It should go without saying, then, that refusing to hire an applicant because she is pregnant and did not inform the employer during the employee’s interview is also frowned upon. Take a lesson from a Scottsdale, Arizona company that paid out $150,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit when they withdrew a job offer within one week of learning the applicant was pregnant and accused her of failing to disclose her pregnancy during the interview. Neither applicants nor employees are required to disclose a pregnancy unless they are requesting leave or some other accommodation related to the pregnancy. Further, employers should refrain from asking both applicants and employees if they are pregnant. Even if they look like the proverbial snake that swallowed the basketball, there is no reason for an employer to ask that question and it can only get you in hot water. Last, employers cannot retaliate against an applicant or employee on the basis of pregnancy as that is considered a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII and many states’ laws. In addition to the fine, this company was required to formally apologize to the applicant, review and revise its equal employment opportunity policies, modify their leave of absence policies and conduct supervisor training. If you are an employer wondering about your own policies and procedures, or have questions about supervisor training, contact one of our attorneys here at myHRcounsel for guidance.

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