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OT -Manager asking if I plan to get pregnant

I found out my manager has asked another employee more than once if I plan to have children. Not only do I feel it's unprofessional of him to inquire, it's even worse to not ask me directly but to go around my back and ask my coworkers. While this is not discrimination, I feel it is completely inappropriate. My manager has already grumbed when a male employee was out for 2 weeks of family leave when his wife delivered, so I know he'll be mad if I ever get pregnant and need to be on leave for 2-3 months. I'm afraid he will be a really jerk every day to me if I get pregnant.

Are there any laws against even asking this type of question? What would you do in this situation?

Tue. Jun 12, 7:34pm

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Yes, this is against the law. You can not be discriminated against because of a pregnancy, marital status, or having children. You can contact your human resources department. If this does not work you can go outside your corporation to look into your civil rights. Check the employer information that is posted in every workplace (usually located somewhere around the minimum wage posting that is mandatory on the wall). Good luck.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 8:46 PM

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a few years back i got a job pregnant and didnt say anything tilll they hired me then i said by the way. they didnt care but oh well if they did and yweah that is discrimanation but if they are lookign for a no just say it and get pregnant and they will have to deal with it

Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 10:57 PM

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It is illegal to ask those type of questions in a job interview-because the answers could be used to determine whether or not you get the job (even though it is illegal to discriminate on the same issues, humans will discriminate on those reasons and just tell you you didn't get the job for some other legal reason). When I worked for a staffing agency my boss caution me against ever casually chatting someone up about their family, lifestyle, or interests in an interview because it could be thought of as the reason they didn't get the job. It seemed crazy to me at the time, since I thought I was just being friendly-but you really do have to be careful.

Keep your mouth shut about your plans to get or not get pregnant. And if anyone asks, tell them it's none of their business and ask why they want to know. I also would speak to HR as another poster mentioned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 11:47 PM

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Totally against the law, unless your working as a private nanny then some rules don't really apply.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 2:06 AM

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It might be against the "law" but it is a totally valid question. The manager needs to know what his resources are going to be. You will be a difficult employee during the pregnancy, out for breast feeding and then tired for 6-9 months. For this reason I would never hire a woman unless her kids were older or unless she was right out of college. I suspect other employers think the same way, and by making a pain out of yourself, you are just making it worse for the others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 8:12 AM

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It is not a legitimate question because it is illegal. Yes, a manager should want to know what their resources will be, but they do not have the right to poke into your personal life. Asking is illegal, whether he's asking you or someone else. And treating you unfairly when you are pregnant is also illegal. For your company's sake, bring this up to HR, so that the people who need to know about the illegal actions will. It will be better for the company, in the long run, than having a female employee suing at some point (which you could also do, theoretically, but that's not really a good option if you'd like to keep working there.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:30 AM

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Not Completely Illegal

It's illegal for the employer to ask YOU directly. However, they are not asking you, but they are asking a co-worker for information. Been through this several times in HR.

Suggestion: tell HR about the behavior of your direct supervisor/boss. Then i would let HR know you prefer to discuss this with your boss directly to clear the air and not "rat" them out--the boss will for sure make your life hell for that. Tell your boss you received feedback that they were asking. Let them know you prefer those questions come directly to you as not to put your co-workers in a compromising position. Ask why he/she is asking the question.

By doing this, you've put in on record about the questions being asked, and you've talked to your boss directly about the situation.

good luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:39 AM

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and we're very thankful for employers like the 8:12 employer descriminating against women because god decided we were the sex to have babies. that's fair, thank you for that!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:41 AM

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life is not fair- I thought it would help the conversation by injecting a little reality into it. Having kids is a choice as well. Isn't that what we are told by the feminists? "My body, my choice?" Well, there you go!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:51 AM

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 11:31 AM

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ignorance should be against the law.

it is a choice to have a family, however, you don't have the choice to hire or not hire based on someone having a family, that's descrimination and that's against the law--don't think you're above that and will never get caught. just remember, life is like a jar of jalapenos--what you do today could burn your ass tomorrow.....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 11:37 AM

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Regardless of everyone's opinion, it is illegal, because some people in higher positions would discriminate. But here's another question... How many men get asked if they are going to have children? They are just as likely to need time off to go to Dr's appointments (my husband went to every one of them... it's his child too, right?), miss work because the baby is sick, and need paternity leave (men get leave, too... they just don't get paid for it). I would contact human recources if you think there is a possibility for promotion... some promotions mean better benefits, like paid maternity leave vs. unpaid, etc.

To the poster that says they would not hire a woman for having babies... I can understand your point of view, having been in the situation of hiring / firing before. However, if this person has all the skills for the position and the ONLY worry you have is that she is pregnant / will be pregnant, it is worth going through a year of imposition to keep a great employee for many years. I think we need to go back to a 'family environment' at work and help each other out instead of being out in the workforce for yourself only. How much do you enjoy your job? Would you like it better if you had better relationships at work?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 1:07 PM

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As for the person who suggested that you be the one to talk to your boss, and tell him that you prefer the question coming to you directly, that won't work b/c he cannot legally ask you that. If you have a good HR department, and you specify that you do not want your boss to know that it is you who is reporting him, he will not find out that it was you. However, if you go to him, he will, of course, know that it was you who talked to HR about him.

And, if he makes your life hell, for this reason or any other, so long as it's not justified (i.e. he's mad b/c you don't do your work, show up late, etc.), you should be going to either HR or his boss. They are equipped to handle employee problems.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 1:34 PM

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i'm the one who suggested you go directly to your boss AFTER you speak with HR. My thought is if you go to HR and they talk directly to your boss and you don't bring it up, you will look like the office snich. This person already has issues by asking when you're going to have children. I wouldn't want more fire thrown my way if I were you. This way, you've logged a complaint in case something does happen and you've talked to them directly. This will work even though it's illegal for him/her to ask you directly. It is NOT illegal for him/her to ask your co-workers and he/she will get away with it because it could be construed as harmless chit chat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 3:37 PM

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RE: 3:37 post
I think this is the best advice also. This allows the OP to deal with the matter while protecting herself and keeping the issue from blowing up. For all of us I think this is a good reminder to be very careful about what we tell coworkers.

RE: 6/13 8:12 Poster
All I can say is that I'm glad someone like you wouldn't hire me. I wouldn't want to work for you. Your comments speak largely to your management style for both men and women as well as to your ignorance. Of course, that is all said assuming that you're even a person who is in a position to make hiring decisions. More likely you're not even in a position to make such decisions and are simply trying to stir controversy with your comments.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 4:05 PM

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"It might be against the "law" but it is a totally valid question. The manager needs to know what his resources are going to be. You will be a difficult employee during the pregnancy, out for breast feeding and then tired for 6-9 months. For this reason I would never hire a woman unless her kids were older or unless she was right out of college. I suspect other employers think the same way, and by making a pain out of yourself, you are just making it worse for the others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 8:12 AM "

If anyone ever found out that this is the way you hire you could have a huge lawsuit on your hands. You are breaking the law and discrimiting against woman that have young children or plan on having children.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 4:08 PM

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AMEN 4:05 and 4:08 posters. I'm the 3:37 poster and the 10:39 poster with a legal and medical background in MN

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 4:17 PM

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Response to 8:12

8:12 is so ignorant. There are so many assumptions on their part. Notice poster says "The manager needs to know what HIS resources are going to be".
*Assuming first, that all managers are men.
*Assuming everyone breastfeeds.
*Assuming all women are "difficult" when pregnant
*Hello!? The last time I checked women that are right out of college or have kids in college that this poster is "willing" to hire can and do menstruate and can get pregnant just as easily as someone who is older.
*Assuming all managers think like you, there would be one hell of an unemployment line in this country as well as a national crisis with familes being unable to feed their children because women can't find work.
*Thank God for the fact that everyone out there doesn't practice the ignorance that you preach.
*OP, by "making a pain" out of yourself, (NOT,LOL) you are actually making another step towards equality in the workplace by calling people like this out on their BS and not allowing it to be okay anymore. Good luck to you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 7:18 PM

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OP Here, thanks to all, well almost all, of you who commented

In regards to discussing this with HR, normally that would be the best approach, however my HR rep has ALSO asked me if I plan to have children. I think she brought it up in friendly chit chat, but I wasn't thrilled that she was asking. I told her I haven't decided, which is the truth. I'm just getting really tired of people asking me this. It's such a personal issue. For all they know, I could have had 3 very emotional miscarriages by now or found out that I can't conceive, they don't need to be bringing this topic up for discussion.

I am planning to speak with the owner of the company about this. Fortunately the owner appears to be very family oriented.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 2:10 AM

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OP, Good for you girl! If that doesn't work, you know your rights!!! :) Don't let anyone push you around.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 7:29 AM

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it is amazing the lengths that people will go to not hear the truth. It's almost if they make enough noise they can convince themselves of another reality. There is a reason men run the country, and it is not because they are smarter.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 8:37 AM

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LMFAO, 8:37 am. Keep believing that... Let your wife out of the closet when you get home, ok?

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 1:09 PM

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if i was his wife, i would've "come out of the closet" a long time ago-anything to get away from a guy like that!

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 1:23 PM

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I am about to pee myself laughing at that last comment. Yes, his wife should have left him a long time ago, you are right. He probably has her locked in there while he goes out with his KKK buddies and drinks and lynches people. Then he lets her out so she can cook his dinner, scrub his floors, and take care of his children whom is bred to be just like him. She can't go into the workplace because she has to be at home barefoot and pregnant doing "woman's work" UGH! That is what makes it so sad... He actually belives this crap.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 3:51 PM

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8:37 is hilarious

I can only imagine it's a joke or a way to get a rise out of an unsuspecting woman. As a man in a very powerful position at a national company I can tell you straight up--my wife is the only reason I hold that position. Women do what we can only better, I have a female boss and wouldn't change a thing. She's better at multi-tasking and far more detail-oriented than I would ever want to be. Thanks for the chuckle...anymore good jokes?

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 7:25 PM

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Seems like that guy in the movie "Office Space"-a real winner.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 7:28 PM

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My wife has been in the same situation, what if her company does not have a HR department? What are her options?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 3:05 PM

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