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Warning signs that an employer discriminates against pregnancy

So, you are applying for jobs while pregnant or, at some point near or far, plan to become pregnant. Of course, you want an employer who treats pregnant employees fairly!

The fact is, even if you have no plans to become pregnant, it is still a good idea to seek out employers who treat everyone fairly and in accordance with the law. With that in mind, what are some pregnancy-related warning signs that could give you pause about continuing with a job application process?

Questions during the interview

If your interviewers ask questions such as, "Do you have children?" or "Do you plan to have children?" during the interview, they are crossing a line that could serve as a warning sign. This is especially so when preceded or followed by an explanation along the lines of, "We expect our employees to work hard and to be available for overtime when necessary," or, "We have had employees in the past who had children and because of that, were not flexible with their work hours." A similar concept applies to questions such as, "Do you want to get pregnant soon? We have a problem with women leaving to have children."

An employer concerned about work hours or employee retention has legal and fair ways to ask about that without involving or blaming pregnancy or children.

Online reviews

Many online reviews either praising or lambasting a company are worth taking with a grain of salt, particularly if they are emotionally charged. That said, if a pattern of reviews concerning pregnancy discrimination arises, take it seriously.

These reviews may talk about employers who reassigned jobs, criticized work heavily, demoted someone or denied a promotion during or after a pregnancy. Many other issues can be involved too.

How it markets itself

An employer's website can tell you a lot by what it does not say or show. For instance, a website that lays out how a company is flexible with telecommuting, vacation time or sick leave may give you more hope than a website that says practically nothing about the company culture. A company that has not taken the time to think about its culture and how to embrace diversity may be rooted in outdated ways of viewing pregnancy.

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