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Sex discrimination in hiring: watch out for pregnancy screening, P.2

Previously, we began looking at the topic of pregnancy screening in the job interview process.  By pregnancy screening, we are referring to an employer’s attempt to ferret out job applicants who either are pregnant or who plan on getting pregnant in the near future. Most employers are wise enough to know they cannot do this openly, though some are surprisingly bold in their discrimination.

More often than not, pregnancy screening will be subtle in nature and discriminatory intent cannot be proven directly with the employer’s own words. Usually, a plaintiff will have to make use of circumstantial evidence to prove discrimination. This may require presenting statistical evidence of hiring decisions, pointing to unnecessary job requirements which have the effect of excluding pregnant applicants, or looking at the overall culture of a company with respect to its friendliness toward parenthood and work-family balance. 

Job applicants who are already established in a company may have a better ability to sense whether their employer refuses to promote them due to pregnancy discrimination. Time spent at a company can give a woman familiarity with workplace attitudes toward pregnancy among workers and the company’s track record of complying with federal requirements when it comes to sex and pregnancy discrimination.

Building a strong pregnancy or sex discrimination case is not always easy, particularly when the employer is careful to cover up its discriminatory intent. Working with an experienced attorney is, therefore, essential to build the strongest possible case and ensure one’s rights and interests receive zealous advocacy in court. 

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