Is it legal for my pregnancy to be shared with anyone without my permission?

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Is it legal for my pregnancy to be shared with anyone without my permission?

This morning my recruiter sent out an email that informed my employer that I am pregnant. It was don’t so in an innocent way, but either way I feel my medical privacy has been breached. The HR Director at my contracted employer as well as other were all copied on this email. I have no disclosed nor have I given permission to the recruiter or the HR Director to know or share this information. What can I do about this? I feel that it is completely inappropriate because not only is this pregnancy compromised, but my contract with this employer is nearly up and I feel this could effect my chances of finding employment in my industry.

Asked on January 13, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The fact that you are pregnant is not legally protected; anyone, including a recruiter or employer, who knows this can share it unless they specificlaly agreed to not do so. Moreover, you can only bring a legal claim or action if you suffer some actual adverse consequence--the law does not provide compensation for purely hypothetical or potental impacts or losses--so until and unless something happens (e.g. you lose a job) due to this, there is no point in even trying to take action.
However, remember that an actual or prospective employer (or coworkers) can NOT harass or discriminate against you because you are pregnant; such is considered illegal sex-based discrimination. (Since only women get pregnant, to take action against someone due to pregnancy is to discriminate against her because she is a woman.) If you do suffer any adverse employment consequences, contact the federal EEOC or your state equal/civil rights agency to file a complaint.


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