Your first reaction to PDA in the headline might be “How does this relate to my job search and pregnancy?” No, I’m not addressing “Public Displays of Affection,” also known as PDA. The U.S. Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 states that a pregnant woman cannot be treated differently from any other employees with disabilities, even though they are temporary. Pregnant workers may have pregnancy-related impairments that qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The PDA prohibits sex discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It applies to current, past, potential or intended pregnancies, and any medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.
To Share or Not to Share
Firstly, it’s good to know that this conversation is entirely up to you, the candidate! Any questions asked by employers regarding your marital status, pregnancy, or children are out-of-bounds. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) outlines guidelines in their Pregnancy Discrimination Fact Sheet.
Whether you feel it’s your right not to tell your status, or if you feel like it’s your moral obligation to tell, I’d like to share my personal experience.
I started my position with AgCareers.com when I was eight months pregnant with my third child! I knew I was expecting when I applied for the job. It didn’t seem appropriate to mention the pregnancy in my cover letter or application materials. In fact, hiring managers often say they’d rather not know this personal information. Like your photo or marital status, it doesn’t belong on your resume!
By the time I went for the interview, I was obviously showing. Then, I was torn because I knew it really wasn’t something that employers could or should address, but I wanted to be upfront. I decided before the interview that I would address the “elephant in the room” when explaining why I wanted to change jobs. The position I was interviewing for had a part-time option, which is what I was looking for with my expanding family. The imperative part was I kept it brief as I wanted to focus on my qualifications, not my pregnancy.
When the interviewer asked why I was looking for a new job, I said, “I’m expecting a baby, and I’m looking for a part-time option for work-life balance, while still continuing in my career.”
We then moved on and that was it for my dreaded pregnancy discussion. Whew, that was simple, and really not anything to worry about! And you already know the end of this story, as I got the job and am still happily employed at AgCareers.com after eight years. I felt better about being frank with them regarding my status and was happy to know the organization was supportive of flexibility and work-life balance.
To share or not to share your pregnancy news during the job search process…ultimately, it’s up to you! If you’re ready to start searching, visit www.AgCareers.com now.
This article is not legal advice and is for guidance only. Check with your legal counsel for the most relevant and up to date information.