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I am interviewing for my dream job. I am 3 months pregnant. Do I Let them know I am pregnant or not?

Thanks for your comments.

WillDuke's picture

If you don't let them know, it's to deceive them right? If this is your dream job, that's not how you want to start it out.

jamie_p's picture

Is your pregnancy noticeable? Even a little bit? If so, you should tell them and indicate that you plan to come back to work (I assume you plan to). If there is no way anyone could notice, I wouldn't say anything. It is a medical condition that doesn't need to be disclosed.

I interviewed someone seven and a half months pregnant late last year. She made it clear she was coming back to work. She was the best candidate, so she was hired. She worked for a month, was out for three months, and now is working out great.

Good luck and congratulations.

madamos's picture

At the beginning of the interview process I wouldn't mention it unless you were asked.
I would suggest that you tell them when you get an offer. You don't want to start working the job and then tell them. Let them realize you are the best candidate and realize that they want you even if it means a small interruption at the beginning of the job (like the situation jamie_p writes).

If you wait until you start the first day, that may cause some resentment from your boss. Better to tell them before the hire you (but wait for that offer!)

MadAmos

WillDuke's picture

I think I'm still of the opinion that first impressions make a huge difference. Tell them this is your dream job. Tell them how great you are. Tell them how you will succeed in this position. And tell them that you are going to miss some time. Everyone misses time from work.

This is your dream job. This is the company you want to work for. They will get it. They will recognize your value. They will recognize the inconvenience of the situation, but they will still want a candidate like you. They will respect your honesty and candor.

If they don't, is it really your dream job? Is it risky? Maybe. But at the end of the road, do you want to have manipulated the situation? Is that who you want to be?

bflynn's picture

I gotta go with Will here. There are no secrets. That you will miss some time in about six months is part of the package. If I were hiring you, I'd be rather upset to find out afterwards. Yes, it may lessen your chances at getting hired, but there is no other option.

How you raise the topic is important. You don't want it to be the first or last topic. It will be overblown if it is the first and there's an element of avoidance if it is the last.

As far as exact wording - I don't have a suggestion right now and I don't want to try to invent one. It would have no weight and no proof behind it.

Others - what has worked and not worked for similar situations?

Brian

madamos's picture

Will,

You make some great points and I can agree with all of them.

I don't know if I would have the courage to mention this issue during the first round of interviews. Mike and Mark are always making the point that in an interview people are looking for reasons to [b]not[/b] hire you. So I would ask on this thread, when in the interview process is the appropriate place to mention a medical condition or other issue of that nature? During the first round? After you recieve an offer?

I would agree that it would be unethical to mention the issue after you were already hired. As a hiring manager it would sour our relationship and make it difficult for me to trust the employee in the future.

Definately mention it at some point during the interview process.

MadAmos

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="jamie_p"] It is a medical condition that doesn't need to be disclosed.[/quote]
Where's the law on that one?

Would the interviewer even be allowed to ask?

TomW's picture

[quote="mullinsv"]I am interviewing for my dream job. I am 3 months pregnant. Do I Let them know I am pregnant or not?

Thanks for your comments.[/quote]

I think there's another question there: What are your long-term intentions?

Do you plan on working there 5 months, taking leave, then coming back? Or working there 5 months, then leaving the workforce to raise your child?

I think it's important to be able to discuss your plans with your new prospective employer.

I think that you should raise the point during the interview, maybe during the "Tell me about yourself" question.

To withhold that information feels a little dishonest to me. It's also a good test of the organization: if they are OK with hiring someone, knowing they are expecting, they are probably going to be more flexible later when it comes to your schedule around being a mother (doctor's appointments, dropping kids off at school, etc).

Any offer they might make you would be based on an inaccurate picture of your future plans. I think it's safe for a recruiter to make an offer based on an assumption that you are not planning on being out for an extended period of time that you know about long in advance.

jhack's picture

The earliest you should share this is after you've recieved an offer. This is irrelevant without an offer. AND if they don't offer you the job, you'll know it wasn't discrimination.

You should then accept the offer, and as part of that conversation, let them know that you expect to take a (x week) maternity leave. Your energy level and excitement about this job should never wane during this entire period. If they withdraw the offer, then you have a possible discrimination situation that is demonstrably so. But if you tell them during the interview, they can simply not offer you a position and you'll never really know why.

John

davefleet's picture

I have to ask the same question as Vinnie2k - where's the law on this where you are?

Up here in Canada, I'm pretty sure employers can't legally talk about it or make it a part of their hiring decision (I'm not naive enough to think that everyone abides by this, but then you wouldn't want to work for them if they didn't anyway, right?)

I agree with John's reply above. Tell them once you have an offer. That way it won't affect their decision process, but you aren't hiding it until later. Their response to that information should also give you a good indication of whether you want to work for this company or not.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="mullinsv"]I am interviewing for my dream job. I am 3 months pregnant. Do I Let them know I am pregnant or not?
[/quote]

As a hiring manager, I'd rather you didn't say anything during the interview process. Not hiring you because you're pregnant is illegal where I live, so I'd rather it didn't enter into the process at all.

I like the previous suggestion of disclosing it after you have an offer, on paper, in your hands. It can be part of a "okay, I need to understand how your company handles maternity leave, because I'm expecting a baby around Valentine's day, and I'd like to come back when she's about eight weeks old." It turns out, because I've been through this, that I could tell you exactly what the rules are regarding what the health coverage pays for and what you'd have to take as leave without pay.

If you're my best candidate, your pregnancy better not matter. If it does, you should sue me and my company.

WillDuke's picture

[quote]If you're my best candidate, your pregnancy better not matter. If it does, you should sue me and my company.[/quote]
If this is in fact the case, why do you suggest waiting until having an offer to disclose?

davefleet's picture

I'd say because, all other things being equal, you want the 'dream job'.

This helps the other things remain equal.

WillDuke's picture

But your assumption is that this is a potentially negative thing. I see this as an opportunity to show your integrity. An opportunity to show that you will always be honest and up-front. An opportunity to give them an opportunity to add a person of the highest quality to their team.

kklogic's picture

[quote="vinnie2k"][quote="jamie_p"] It is a medical condition that doesn't need to be disclosed.[/quote]
Where's the law on that one?

Would the interviewer even be allowed to ask?[/quote]

No. The law is VERY clear that you cannot ask questions like, "do you intend on having children."

I have a very strong opinion on this matter, being a woman myself - and hope I do not offend anyone with my frankness.

The employer doesn't have you leaving for three months even on their radar. If they hire you and then you tell them, they will be upset. They will feel duped that didn't tell them in the interview process and there will be women like me on the job who will resent you for it. Why? Because every time we sit in that interview chair, it makes it harder on the rest of us. I have heard male managers talking openly outside of the office, and they are hesistent to hire women - especially those of childbearing years - because of this very situation. They have no guarantee you are coming back to work. They feel like they were played.

Again, I do not mean to offend and I'm sure Mark or Mike will come along and give a contrary opinion - but I am offering you my honest thoughts on your question.

davefleet's picture

Hi Will,

Thanks for your thoughts - I enjoy debates like this and I appreciate your opinion.

In an ideal world, I think you're absolutely right. Unfortunately, I don't think it is an ideal world, so there are two reasons why I think it's best to wait though:

1. Not everyone has your high integrity. If this is her dream job, I would try to minimize any risk of not getting an offer. Informing the company of the pregnancy after receiving an offer still demonstrates integrity (by telling them before signing a contract) while minimizing that risk

2. Telling the recruiters early on puts them in a very awkward position: I can't speak for the US, but here the company isn't legally allowed to take pregnancy into account in a hiring decision. They're not allowed to mention it in an interview. If they know about the pregnancy, they will find it hard to avoid a perception of discrimination if they decide not to make the offer, even if the pregnancy was not a factor.

That's my perspective, anyway.

Dave

TomW's picture

[quote="davefleet"]I enjoy debates like this [/quote]

I have to say that this kind of debate really enhances the value of the forum. Not only do you get opinions, you get opposing opinions with their reasoning!

WillDuke's picture

I'm aware we don't live in a perfect world. If we did I'd live in the big house on the hill with my own private lake. And I'd still be 21. I'm still pretty though, so that's nice. :lol:

1. If this is a dream job, it is perfect.
2. If we don't strive for perfect, who's going to?

As to your points.

1. I don't see any difference between telling them after receiving the offer and before signing the contract. They can't legally pull the offer at that point, so the deception is complete.

2. I don't see that much awkwardness for the recruiter. If a person of distinguishable race interviews they could say they weren't offered the job because of discrimination as well. What's the difference?

Let's say someone was planning a round-the-world cruise that starts 6 months after you hire them. When they expect a few months off for that, without telling you when you hired them, how would you feel?

I am aware that I'm an idealist. If I hired that person and they didn't tell me, I would feel a little deceived and it would impact my relationship with them. They knew they would need time off soon. They withheld that from me. This affects my team. Why shouldn't that be disclosed?

James Gutherson's picture

I'm on Will's side in this. Waiting untill after the offer has no value. It can only come across as an ambush. If they have made an offer - you disclose this - they pull the offer - That sounds like a great set up for a case of discrimination.

Waiting is also short term thinking. Yes you might get the job but you will be looked at with suspision for a long time afterwards (trust is a long time earned, but instantly lost). This might be the dream job for the moment but what will be percived as deception will put a big black mark on any further progression.

thaGUma's picture

The law is not the issue here, you are saying that in six months you will be on extended leave.

Personally I would advise the company. If you had commmitted to a sabbatical or were scheduled for surgery you would be obligated to inform people.

You are pregnant (well done) life will change , your priorities will change. You need to be open with others as you will have more important things to deal with.

If you are the right candidate, than an employer may take the view that maternity cover is a factor in any employment. The next candidate could fall pregnant the day of the new job.

Concentrate on your skills.

Chris

jhack's picture

The suggestion that waiting to reveal would be an "ambush" shows a lack of empathy. Pregnancy puts the woman in a no-win situation: if she talks about it during the interview, she might be seen as unprofessional, and she is most certainly putting her career at risk when nothing is certain. If she waits, she will be held to a standard of candor which no one else would be held to. To hold someone in suspicion for handling this delicate situation either way is unfair.

This is not comparable to someone planning a six month cruise. And if it were surgery that would take you out of the office for weeks, you should do the same thing: wait for the offer.

Those of us who will never be in this situation have a responsibility to be particularly gracious and understanding of any decision the woman might make.

John

juliahhavener's picture

I have three children. I wouldn't expect an interviewee to tell me that she is pregnant, particularly if it wasn't obvious already. It's her body, her life, and a LOT can happen (good and bad)...that goes for ANY new employee.

One of my last two hires was an internal transfer. When I interviewed him, I asked why my department? It's a pay reduction for him. His answer was awesome: He wanted to be able to go back to school (not possible with current on-call and scheduling), his first child is due in two weeks and he wants a stable schedule (see previous issue), and he wants to learn the other side of the business to help further his career.

He included the pregnancy information because it would be an IMMEDIATE impact. He asked if taking a week off when the baby was born would create a problem with training (not one we couldn't work around).

Is this different from the new hire who had a car accident the first week of training that totalled his only car and created massive problems keeping him out of the training class for several days and late to work on several occassions afterwards?

Her pregnancy won't impact my business for several months yet - plenty of time for us to make a plan. Until then, it isn't an issue for me (and it removes all doubt about my unconsciously using it as a discrimination factor in my hiring decision). Feel duped? Not at all.

spiffdeb's picture

I am with Julia and several others here. There is no reason to disclose this in the initial interview. I have been on both sides of this issue. I have been up for interview for a promotion when I was 3 months pregnant and have also been in the position of hiring.

I think the first discussions must be about your skills as an employee and what you bring to the job. This should be the primary focus of any initial interview. I wouldn't bring up pregnancy on the first interview anymore than I would walk in the door and discuss my salary requirements or any other secondary (to the employer) item in a first interview.

Legally and ethically we do not want to discriminate. Knowing this information may consciously or unconsciously influence the hiring decision - so why bring it up? The impact of the situation is months off for the employer and they cannot let it influence their decision anyway. Best not even to put it out there and create any opportunity for discrimination.

I would not feel "ambushed" if an employee came to me a couple of months after hiring and disclosed this. In my own situation I waited as long as I could to bring the issue up (at 5 months could no longer chalk it up to a little weight gain.....) [u]because I didn't want it to be any point of focus. I wanted to do my job and be judged on that. [/u]
Good luck!!

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="jhack"]The suggestion that waiting to reveal would be an "ambush" shows a lack of empathy. Pregnancy puts the woman in a no-win situation: if she talks about it during the interview, she might be seen as unprofessional, and she is most certainly putting her career at risk when nothing is certain. If she waits, she will be held to a standard of candor which no one else would be held to. To hold someone in suspicion for handling this delicate situation either way is unfair.
[/quote]

I disagree (ain't diversity grand :wink: ). My wife has been in this situation twice, interviewing when pregnant with both our children, and she disclosed this on both occasions.
It is not her pregnancy that puts a woman in a no-win situation, or talking about it that might be seen as unprofessional - it is the lack of disclosure that is unprofessional. It is not about giving the business the opportunity to say no because of this fact (which is plainly illegal in most of the western world), but about establishing an honest relationship from the start. See Hortman's 3rd law "...Use candor as an advantage, rather than as a weakness."

...and this is a level of candor that I would hold everyone to, especially myself.

jhack's picture

These are hard decisions with a personal dimension. Proof that this is a hard one is the clear difference of opinions on this forum, amongst folks who are smart, ethical, and well-intentioned.

For issues like this, we must recognize that someone (the candidate) can make a decision different from the one we would make. We should accept that decision as being ethical and well intentioned.

John

kklogic's picture

John,

If that is the proper way to deal with it, then I emplore all male hiring managers to never let the thought cross their mind when interviewing a female candidate, "hmm...I wonder if she'll get pregnant and then decide not to come back to work."

The harsh reality is that no matter what the law says, this DOES happen. I have heard it discussed. Most may be intelligent enough to suppress the though - but it pops into the brain anyway.

While I agree that technically, either choice is fine - I would argue that every woman that chooses to wait until after actual hire to disclose this makes it harder on all women. It potentially also makes life harder on the rest of the employees when a hire is made in preparation for a "busy season" and this person will not be able to be there.

Personally, I would discuss it in the interview. If it played into their decision-making, then this is not a place for me. If I am the proper person for the job, they will work with me and appreciate my candor.

jhack's picture

I believe the main thread of discussion is whether to discuss during the interview, or after the offer is received.

My main point here (aside from my advice to the original poster) is that we need to respect the hard decisions of others.

I do not understand why one person's waiting makes it hard on all women.

John

TomW's picture

[quote="juliahdoyle"]Is this different from the new hire who had a car accident the first week of training that totalled his only car and created massive problems keeping him out of the training class for several days and late to work on several occassions afterwards? [/quote]

I think it's very different. One is an accident, the other is hiding their plans in an interview. Unless the new hire is Zoltar the Psychic, he does not know that car accident is coming.

I think it's on par with any major life plans that affect work. If I thought an interview was going well, and I knew I was planning on going to New Zealand for a month for my honeymoon in 6 months, I would want the recruiter to know that so there are no surprises for him later.

Call it discrimination, but I'd rather lose the opportunity up front (which until I have an offer I don't really have anyway) than lose the goodwill of the HR department of the company I'm just starting at.

WillDuke's picture

Wow, what a great discussion! This is a tough topic. There is obviously no "right" answer.

kklogic mentioned that interviewers think about whether any woman is going to not be available due to pregnancy. This hasn't been my response, but it's an interesting thought.

For the sake of argument, let's say the interviewer does in fact think negatively about all women becoming pregnant, then suppresses that thought, but is still subconsciously affected by it. Or even less dramatically, the interviewee discloses their current pregnancy and the same thought process occurs. (Of course it will occur, the interviewing manager is going to naturally think about what is best for the team.)

Why would the interviewer, now manager after the interviewee is hired, have a different thought process if disclosure didn't come until after the person has been hired? Is the manager not going to think "gosh, they knew they were pregnant and deliberately withheld the fact that they were going to take a significant amount of time away from work." Again, they suppress but will have the subconscious affect going on.

In the first scenario the candidate was honest and up-front. That helps temper the reaction. In the second scenario the candidate was not up-front, there's nothing to balance the information with.

Again, I can definitely see both sides. In the long run, I wouldn't want to work for someone that would let it be an issue up front. I do want to work with open and up-front people.

tcomeau's picture

WillDuke and others argue that not disclosing suggests a lack of trust or honesty. I think they are wrong ethically, and I'm sure they are wrong legally.

I have a view on the differences in how men and women are treated in American (and to a lesser extent, UK) workplaces, but that is not the thrust of my argument.

Here is the central problem: It is illegal for me to consider pregnancy or children when evaluating a candidate. A principal purpose of the interview process is to find reasons to say "No" to a candidate. While I make the final decisions about who I hire, I don't make those decisions in a vacuum, and some of my colleagues have been known to make statements about candidates that include illegal criteria. If I do find reasons to say "No" I would prefer that those reasons not be illegal reasons.

Telling me that you are pregnant, or gay, or HIV positive, or caring for a disabled parent, or have accepted Jesus as your personal savior are all interesting things that may enhance or negatively impact my opinion of you, but they are all illegal reasons for changing my opinion. Because I'm human, I'll have a reaction. Because I'm sensitive to my organization's poor track record, I'll have another reaction.

In any case, having you tell me that kind of information does, in fact, make my life more difficult. If you want to tell me, the earliest you should tell me is after you have the offer.

Yes, you're keeping your personal life choices private. That doesn't suggest a lack of honesty or trust, it suggests an ability to decide when and how you want to disclose personal information that will affect my team. I would be happy if you waited until you were ready to tell the whole world before you told me. I'd appreciate it if I were among the first people on the team you told, if only so I'd have some idea what to say when one of my guys says "Hey, how are we going to handle things when she's out having her baby?"

So please, don't tell me you're pregnant when you're interviewing for your dream job. Convince me you can really do well at that dream job, and we'll deal with your time off later.

tc>

TomW's picture

[quote="tcomeau"]Yes, you're keeping your personal life choices private. [/quote]

Do you still consider is a personal life choice when it requires you to miss one or more months of work? Does it not become a professional choice at that points as well?

WillDuke's picture

I was taken aback by Tom's statement.
[quote]WillDuke and others argue that not disclosing suggests a lack of trust or honesty. I think they are wrong ethically, and I'm sure they are wrong legally. [/quote]
What is the purpose of that statement? It does not help the free flow of ideas and opinions that was previously taking place. It's a barrier to the discussion.

Quite frankly the comment doesn't even make sense. What is unethical or illegal about having an opinion about whether a person should disclose this information during an interview? Nobody ever suggested the interviewer ask the person if they were pregnant. That would be wrong. But it is neither illegal nor unethical for the interviewee to share whatever information s/he chooses to share. This discussion has been about the interviewee's choice.

My "thrust" has been that the relationship between an employee and an employer begins with the interview, not just when the job starts. If a person wants to establish a long-term relationship (dream job) then they must be aware of how choices made during the interview might affect that relationship.

[quote]In any case, having you tell me that kind of information does, in fact, make my life more difficult.[/quote]
Sometimes a Manager's life is hard. As M&M say, that's why we get the paycheck.

ccleveland's picture

I agree with Tom C. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects different groups from discrimination. One protected group added after the original Act was pregnant women. Obviously, this applies only to U.S. It does NOT apply to every employer in the U.S, only those with 15+ employees. It is to the benefit and protection of BOTH the interviewer and interviewee if this is not even discussed in the interview.

I also agree with the point originally made by John that you should consider asking about maternity leave policies before you accept the offer. In the U.S., The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50+ employees to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. Does your prospective employer fall under FMLA? Many employers offer additional benefits such as some period of paid leave. Is that important to you?

Finally, several people made a sad but true point about the fact that discrimination does still exist in the real world. Warning…fact-less generalization: I think many of people that would intentionally or “subconsciously” discriminate during the decision process would be the same ones that feel “ambushed” if you told them after an offer or starting work. Risky conclusion? It probably doesn't matter when you speak with those who discriminate when you tell them. In the end, the easier path is to tell them during the interview; however, for all the reasons mentioned here and above, I think it’s got a higher chance of causing the process to breakdown.

Best of luck…please let us know how it goes with the baby and the job!!!

CC

P.S. To TomW: Your family and medical needs and choices are protected by the law. Taking a month or two off because you want to snowboard in Telluride during peak season isn’t protected. Taking a year off to get a degree also isn’t guaranteed.

TomW's picture

[quote="ccleveland"]IP.S. To TomW: Your family and medical needs and choices are protected by the law. Taking a month or two off because you want to snowboard in Telluride during peak season isn’t protected. Taking a year off to get a degree also isn’t guaranteed.[/quote]

Given this, I feel that the law is a bit lop-sided and favoring those married.

I want to plead discrimination against me for making the family choice to be single and take a vacation instead of getting married and taking a month off under FMLA! (PLEASE know I'm kidding!!)

terrih's picture

To clarify something: an employee is not protected by FMLA until they have worked for the company for a year. So that doesn't come into play in this situation.

spiffdeb's picture

[quote]I want to plead discrimination against me for making the family choice to be single and take a vacation instead of getting married and taking a month off under FMLA! (PLEASE know I'm kidding!!)
[/quote]

I know you were kidding but FMLA is not limited to married people or women... you could be a single parent, adopting, caring for an elderly parent or ill family member.....

davefleet's picture

What a great discussion - it's fascinating to see everyone's views. Whether I agree with your perspective or not, all of the posts have helped me to think this through more carefully, so thank you all!

Perhaps it's time for M&M to weigh in with their thoughts?

asteriskrntt1's picture

I was just thinking that this thread proves we can have some incredibly lively discorse without M&M weighing in. Just to muddy the waters, let's slightly change this question.

You suffer from clinical depression. You take meds that control it to a large degree, but there are days and weeks that it still rears its ugly head. You interview for your dream job. Do you tell the hiring manager up front that you suffer from depression, wait for the offer or just deal with it when it happens (if you get the job)?

*RNTT

TomW's picture

[quote="davefleet"]What a great discussion - it's fascinating to see everyone's views. Whether I agree with your perspective or not, all of the posts have helped me to think this through more carefully, so thank you all!

Perhaps it's time for M&M to weigh in with their thoughts?[/quote]

I think they are just waiting until the dust settles so they can give us all feedback on the event :-)

WillDuke's picture

Asterisk -

I wouldn't disclose that during the interview. In this example you don't have anything concrete to share. You're under treatment and in good faith believe the treatment to be effective. You don't know if, or when, this situation will effect your job and the work you do with the team.

Heck, if you're overweight you might have a heart attack. You wouldn't feel compelled to share that. If you're a woman, you might need time off for childbirth. If you're a man, you might need time off for that birth too. But there are no specific definable instances coming up.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Au contraire... I think you definitely have something concrete to share. You know for a fact that there are going to be days and weeks that you disappear. And unlike a pregnancy, you have no exact schedule to plan around.

As a hiring manager, wouldn't that make your job a lot tougher? Of course you would WANT to know this. However, we are managers. We make decisions with impefect information all the time.

There seems to be a thread of ETHICS about disclosure. I think until ethics is defined (never mind the legal issues), one can't say something is ethical or not. Where are the ethics coming from? Old testament, new testament, Koran, the military, something your grandmother taught you? For most people, ethics are pretty situational and non-defined until something rears its ugly head (much like over reactive corporate policies).

Define the ethics, then debate around that definition.

*RNTT

tcomeau's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]I was taken aback by Tom's statement.
[quote]WillDuke and others argue that not disclosing suggests a lack of trust or honesty. I think they are wrong ethically, and I'm sure they are wrong legally. [/quote]
What is the purpose of that statement? It does not help the free flow of ideas and opinions that was previously taking place. It's a barrier to the discussion.

Quite frankly the comment doesn't even make sense. What is unethical or illegal about having an opinion about whether a person should disclose this information during an interview?
[/quote]

Having an opinion about this issue is not unethical. mullinsv's actions have both ethical and legal implications. You are arguing that she has an obligation to disclose, I argue that she doesn't. One of us is mistaken.

That obligation can be ethical, or it can be legal.

Legally, she clearly has no obligation to disclose, for the reasons I previously suggested. Given the historic and persistent differences in the way men and women are treated, there are statutes at the Federal, State and Local level that govern factors that cannot be considered in employment. Whether I approve or not, I'm required to follow those laws.

Ethically, I don't see any obligation on her part to disclose. I think you believe she does have some ethical obligation, though I'm not clear how strong you think that ethical obligation is. Again, given the historic and persistent differences in the way men and women are treated, I believe she has an obligation not to disclose, albeit a weak one, to minimize the chances of including an illegal factor.

We disagree about the ethics of this, which is fine. I'm happy to discuss it.

tc>

WillDuke's picture

Asterisk - Well, I'm confident, but there is NO WAY I will attempt to define ethics for this group! :?

I hear what you're saying though. With depression you're pretty sure it's going to happen, but you don't know when. For me, that's the fundamental difference. It's an uncertain medical condition. And it is "possible" that you won't have another episode that affects work.

With the pregnancy, you have a pretty good idea exactly when it's going to happen, and how long it's going to be. (I know there are variances, but go with me here.) You know it's going to take you out of the office for x amount of time around x date.

In all fairness, and in the interest of full disclosure, I'm more biased against clinical depression than pregnancy. That is probably feeding into my opinion. My gut reaction would be to not hire a person who had clinical depression. I certainly would fight against that instinct. I know it's a valid medical condition and illegal to discriminate against. But I also suspect it would be an issue in the workplace. With the pregnancy, it's a one-off. This terrific person will be gone for a while, but then I'm getting them back.

TomW's picture

[quote="tcomeau"][You are arguing that she has an obligation to disclose, I argue that she doesn't. One of us is mistaken. [/quote]

I don't think anyone here said she has an obligation to disclose anything. That's where I see a failure in communication.

I had been operating under the assumption that this was more of an "impact" discussion. What are the impacts if she does disclose vs. what are the impacts if she does not. Unless you disagree with an impact or someone misquotes a legal point (like when spiffdeb corrected me about my mistake on FMLA), no one here is "mistaken"

regas14's picture

What if the position being interviewed for has a very specific time of year where the work-load is excessive. I'm thinking of a taxation or financial accounting role. Let's say that a woman is 4 months pregnant interviewing today so the baby is due January-ish. The woman asks a question of the work schedule, overtime expectations or something like that. The hiring manager responds:

"During most of the year my team works a pretty typical 40-45 hour a week schedule. The one exception is January and February when our workload increases dramatically and most of us are putting in 55 hours a week over a 3-4 week span. That's really crunch time for this team."

Does the candidate have an obligation to decline an offer knowing that she intends to be home with her newborn during that time?

How can the manager hire someone if he/she learns that this person will be unavailable during the busiest time of the year? Isn't that irresponsible to the rest of his/her team?

Generally I agree that knowledge of the pregnancy puts the manager in a very difficult position because it cannot legally impact the decision but intellectually it cannot be removed.

wendii's picture

I know you've gone off on a tangent whilst I've been gone, but I just want to point out that in the UK it is illegal not to employ a woman if she is the best person for the job because she is pregnant.

Also, clinical depression is constitutes a disability under the disability discrimination act, and so it is illegal to use this as the reason for not employing someone.

Wendii

ccleveland's picture

I fear it's more than a tangent...with all the hypothetical situations running around, we're running amok. :shock:

WillDuke's picture

Wow, 4 pages and the conversation splintered. This is awesome. Unfortunately I'm afraid we chased Mullinsv away pages ago. :)

TC - I agree with TomW. I don't think any of us thinks she has a legal obligation to disclose. I don't even think she has an ethical obligation. And nobody has said the interviewer has any right to ask or base a decision based on what she says around this medical condition.

I have already admitted to being an idealist, so color this accordingly. As an idealist, if I was in her position, applying for the perfect job with the perfect manager, I would tell him/her about my condition.

1. I agree no difference in the manager's decision should occur based on this disclosure. I agree that if this disclosure changes the manager's mind then that manager is ethically bankrupt and legally liable.
2. If that manager is that type of person, I wouldn't want to let them have the benefit of my skills. I don't want that job, it's not my dream job.
3. I know that being out of the office is going to impact the team. I'm being hired to be part of a team, and when I'm not there they won't have the benefit of my skills. I know that I will be away from the team for an extended period. I would like to know that showing my commitment to that team, in advance of even being on the team, is recognized and appreciated.

That's the team that I want to be a part of. That's the kind of team player I want to be.

James Gutherson's picture

Thanks for saving me a bunch of typing Will. Just copy and paste my name into your answer.

juliahhavener's picture

[quote]I think it's on par with any major life plans that affect work. If I thought an interview was going well, and I knew I was planning on going to New Zealand for a month for my honeymoon in 6 months, I would want the recruiter to know that so there are no surprises for him later. [/quote]

Actually, I think this is different, still. If I need to take off an amount of time as a new hire, it should be discussed in the offer/negotiation stage and not in the interview stage. You aren't hiring someone for the work they will do in one month, or even three months (in many companies, it takes that long to really get into the swing), you're hiring someone for years of service (hopefully).

AND...you don't know if that Perfect Candidate won't come down with a major illness, a family member in trouble, or just plain hate the job and leave in 6 months anyway. Should a man have to disclose that his wife is expecting their first baby in 6 months?

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