A manager at a medical practice in Annapolis, MD, told a new employee that it was “disappointing” she hadn’t informed the employer she was pregnant when she was hired.

The employee was later terminated, and the EEOC sued the employer for pregnancy discrimination.

The employee said the subject of her pregnancy arose the day after she was hired, when a supervisor was giving her a flu shot. She asked the supervisor not to tell the practice manager right away, but the supervisor did anyway.

Dishonest?
The manager gave the new employee a written warning that said, in part, she “had to be honest about her condition” and the manager was “somewhat disappointed with her for not letting me know about her condition.”

Discussing the lawsuit, an EEOC official said: “It is not somehow ‘dishonest’ if a woman does not reveal her pregnancy during a job interview. A woman simply does not have to disclose her pregnancy before or after being hired.”

Takeaway: Hiring managers and supervisors may well find it inconvenient when a new employee discloses that she is pregnant. But if you say or do anything to indicate you’re disappointed or unhappy at the news, you risk giving the employee grounds for legal action should you later have to discipline or terminate her.

Cite: EEOC v. Annapolis Internal Medicine.

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