Can an employer ask if I’m pregnant?

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Can an employer ask if I’m pregnant?

In a private meeting to “fill out our new insurance forms”, I was asked if I was pregnant. My employer said he needed to disclose any pregnancies and when I said it didn’t matter because he didn’t know if anyone was pregnant, he reasoned he’d “find out anyway” when he reviewed my paperwork before turning it in. I stupidly answered yes and was humiliated. It’s very early in my pregnancy and I wouldn’t have told him otherwise. He said he “suspected” because I had 3 doctor appointments. He told his wife, who manages the sales in our company (of 5 people), as well. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on April 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the thing. Having a baby is wonderful and I do not know why you felt humilated. At some point of time you should let the employer know that you are pregnant such that necessary accommodation can be made for you and your baby's protection.

That being said, the fair employment and housing act prohibits any inquiry by an employer about medical conditions/general health of an employee. For that, he may be way out of line. An employer is only permitted to inquire about whether an employee can perform a job duty and the inquiry must be strictly job related and for business necessity. If you feel that such was not the case, then you may need to consult an employment attorney to get help.


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