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Can an employer refuse to hire you because you might get pregnant?

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2023 | Employment Law |

As an employee, you know that you’re not supposed to be discriminated against if you are pregnant. If you’re going to an interview and the interviewer tells you that there’s no way they’re going to hire you while you’re pregnant and that you might as well leave the interview early, this is clear discrimination against you. Likewise, it’s discrimination if you become pregnant and your employer uses a reason that as a reason to terminate your position with the company.

That being said, pregnancy is something that companies are often wary of. They know that it may mean that you have to take significant time off from work. For this reason, an employer may be tempted to discriminate against you on the grounds that you could become pregnant in the future.

Watch out for the questions they ask

One example of this is if an employer is considering two different employees. For instance, maybe one person is 45 years old and single, so the employer assumes that they won’t get pregnant. The other person is 23 years old and just got married, so the employer assumes that they certainly could become pregnant in the near future.

This is why it’s problematic if employers ask about your plans for the future. They may just sound like they’re being friendly when they ask you if you want to start a family or have kids, but they’re really trying to figure out how it’s going to impact their employment situation.

Could this be age discrimination?

In the above example, the younger workers are going to be the ones who are discriminated against because there’s a higher potential for pregnancy. This is not age discrimination in California, however. That is reserved for those who are 40 years old and older. Other states do have “reversed age discrimination” laws protecting younger workers, but California is not one of them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s not pregnancy discrimination.

If you feel like you’re being discriminated against for any reason, rest assured that you don’t deserve that treatment from your employer. Take the time to look into all of your legal options.