Can an employer legally ask a potential employee if they are pregnant and then not allow them to be hired because they are?

Asked on August 26, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This would only be legal if the job was one that involved hazards to a pregnant woman and/or her unborn child--for example, certain jobs involving drugs, chemicals, and/or radiology e.g. X-ray technician, where not only is it not safe for the woman and her child, but the employer would potentially become legally liable if she or her child were injured on the job employers are not required to take on that sort of liability.
But those are the minority of cases. In most situations, where the is no special risk for pregnancy, the employer may not do this, because the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy discrimination against woman is illegal so is discrimination because of a "temporary disability," like being pregnant. You may wish to contact the federal EEOC Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state civil/equal rights agency to file a complaint.

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