SHOULD COMPANIES HIRE PREGNANT APPLICANTS?

On a discussion forum recently, a member lamented that she lost a dream job opportunity, presumably because she was pregnant.

She explained in a long emotion-laden post that she had passed through series of stages of interviews for her dream job only to be asked about her pregnancy status and how it could affect her at the final selection stage. Of course she was straightforward with them (not like she had much choice, as her pregnancy was already visible) but assured that she intends to take a short maternity leave, such that her job would not be affected for long.

Few days later, she got a regret mail from the company. The reason for rejecting her was predicated on the fact that ‘we want someone who would be ready to go’ from day one.”

Were they right to do that?

Some members gave their position and I thought they were interesting:

Tara (HR Officer):

‘Employers can’t ask whether you’re pregnant because it’s one of those unlawful application and interview questions – they’re more concerned about whether you can do the job than whether you’re having a baby. So, yes, employers do hire pregnant women who are qualified to do the jobs for which they apply.’

Nike (Teacher):

Employers hire pregnant applicants who say they can perform the essential functions of the job, prove they can interview successfully and, when required, pass the background check and drug screening. There’s nothing to prevent a pregnant woman from getting a job, but the reality is that some employers discriminate against women who are pregnant. If an applicant’s pregnancy stage can be detected by how much she’s showing, some recruiters or hiring managers might not believe she’s actually in a position to perform the job functions. And some employers are fearful that they might become liable for higher group health coverage rates or that they might have to spend too much accommodating the woman’s pregnant condition and possible time off from work

Anonymous:

Can you really blame them? Why would a business hire someone who is already pregnant?! Knowing that the person will need time off for doctor’s visits, then maternity leave, find a cover, keep the job open until they come back etc. I understand things happen, but being pregnant should not affect productivity.

So what do you say to this question? Please drop your comment.

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