By Judith Ohikuare
The interview part of the hiring process is pretty much the honeymoon phase of looking for a new job: Both employer and job applicant are usually on their best behavior, with each side glossing over the personal or organizational quirks that might be unappealing at first blush. For those looking for a new job, maybe you won’t talk extensively about how you’re happy to arrive early but adamant about leaving by 5. For organizations, maybe that flex time isn’t granted as often as you imply.
Whatever your issue is, you should know there is a line when it comes to being written off. A candidate with a track record for being difficult to work with? A justifiable pass. A candidate who divulges they will become a parent soon? Snubbing them just because of that is illegal — but it happens all the time.
“Unfortunately, we see this all too often — pregnant workers go in to ask for an application or for a job interview and are told not to bother applying or to apply only after they’ve had the baby,” says Sarah Brafman, an attorney and Skadden Fellow at A Better Balance. “This is especially the case for low-wage workers, particularly women of color, who are often those most in need of employment during this vulnerable time.”
Whether the problem is that some don’t understand the practice is illegal or simply that they refuse to care, the impact of this discrimination can be “especially harmful” she explains. Pregnant workers in “unhealthy” workplaces may decide not to leave their current jobs, knowing “their other prospects are slim.” Or, they may settle for other kids of mistreatment from whomever takes them on.
You can’t control whether a prospective employer decides to be ethical in their hiring process but you can arm yourself with information if they aren’t. Here are some ways to combat bias if you’re a job seeker and a parent-to-be.
This piece was originally published by Refinery29.