Potential Pregnancy?

by Evil HR Lady on February 26, 2007

Dear Evil HR Lady –

I’m looking for advice on how to handle the following situation.

I left my job 3 months ago and to take some time off – with no deadline as to when I would resume work. Then, a handsome and ideal job fell in my radar. The company has extended a generous offer to me. It’s a senior management position. The kicker is that we have trying to get pregnant for the last 3 years. In the last year have been receiving medical help. In fact, I’m in my last week of an infertility treatment cycle and will be taking a pregnancy test in 7 days. Mind you, this is the 3 attempt – so we haven’t been successful yet. I plan on accepting this offer. The question is, do I tell the company that I have plans to start a family or that in 7 days I will know whether or not I’m pregnant. I feel compel to say something because the position I would fill is important to the organization. I don’t think my pregnancy would diminish my ability to contribute – but I don’t want to start off a working relationship with the perception that I tricked them.

Thanks

Dear New Senior Manager,

I hope all goes well and you are pregnant. In the past I’ve recommended disclosing a pregnancy so as to not end up in a hostile environment. (Keep in mind that discriminating against you because you are pregnant is illegal, but difficult to prove.) However, you don’t know if you are pregnant yet–you just might be pregnant. Disclosing at this point seems like too much information.

However, I’m a bit concerned about you. Why did you take three months off? Was it for the pressures of dealing with infertility? If you did, you’re not alone. It can be a terribly stressful time and you aren’t the first person to need time off. My big concern is if you aren’t pregnant. Then what? Are you prepared to go through another round of treatments?

If you are going to need time off for these treatments, you’ll need to explain early. Unfortunately, I don’t believe you can be guarenteed time off for treatments, as it’s not fully decided whether infertility is covered under ADA. Keep in mind that as a new employee, you aren’t eligible for FMLA either.

Since you are planning to accept the offer, regardless of the result of the pregnancy test, and since they can’t rescind it, I would not say anything at this point. Wait unti your pregnancy is established and then go forward. If you were further along, I’d have you tell now, but since you’re not, wait a bit.

Good luck with everything,

Evil HR Lady

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

--spared-- February 27, 2007 at 3:39 pm

I had a similar situation in 2006. I took on a 4 month project for a firm (I’m also in HR) and the Company decided to make me a job offer in April. By then I was pregnant with my fourth child, and although I accepted the offer I decided not to tell the Company until I was passed my probationary period.

Frankly, my medical condition would not have impeded my ability to fulfill my job requirements.

I worked as a Generalist for several years, an employee advocate and then went into consulting and corporate recruiting, so I’ve seen all ends of the game. I know many companies will use the pregnancy as an excuse to not hire the person, even if they would have otherwise kept the employee therefore I do not recommend any employee release medical information unless they absolutely must.

It’s just one of those things where you need to put on your HR hat and become the employee’s protector and stop thinking about the big, profit-mongering Company for a change.

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First Year February 27, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I agree with you Evil HR lady…. I don’t think theres any reason for her to let them know, I mean at this point its still “trying” (though really, best of luck in that regard). It would strange to tell your future employers you’re trying or hoping to get pregnant.

As for telling people when you are already pregnant, I have some mixed feeling about that. On on hand, if someone is a few weeks pregnant I think I would keep quite, because really most people don;t tell anyone at that point and the potentional for discrimination is fairly high. However, if its a pretty certain pregnancy then it seems a little dishonest almost not to say anything. In that case, I guess its whatever feels right….

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class factotum March 1, 2007 at 1:13 am

Depends if you’re planning to quit once you have the baby. If you are, then you will be leaving your new employer in a lurch. Even if you’re not, you will probably be taking your 12 weeks of leave, right?

I worked in an office where we had half — that’s right, half — the staff out on maternity leave at the same time. We did not have the funds to hire temps to replace them, so it fell upon the rest of us to pick up the slack. I did not have warm fuzzy feelings toward the new moms, I can assure you, and had one of them started working right before she had the baby, I would have been royally ticked off.

If you are indeed pregnant (which, for your sake, I hope you are), you will be burdening your co-workers in nine months. Is this legal? Yes. Is it moral? No.

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Teri April 14, 2007 at 3:02 am

Class Factotum, what kind of discriminatory hiring practices result in a workforce that is 50 percent fecund? I think it’s immoral of your company to have these hiring practices.

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