Can My Employer Ask Me if I’m Planning to Start a Family?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on September 29, 2017

 Can My Employer Ask Me if I’m Planning to Start a Family? It’s kind of like the general rule for asking a woman if she’s pregnant: Don’t do it. Ever.

Does this question still come up in the workplace? Absolutely. So what can you do about it?

First of all, let’s not discount the fact that people are nosy. If you recently got married or purchased a home with your partner, this is a question that aunties and grandmas ask the world over. However, that doesn’t make it any less illegal for your boss to ask. It’s reasonable to assume that if you are pregnant or when you are, that’s you’ll have appropriate discussions with your supervisor about such things as FLMA, short-term disability, and training others who might be stepping in for you while you’re out, but if your not pregnant there’s no need to have those conversations. When people are being nosy, a lighthearted answer usually does the trick. You don’t owe anyone answers about your personal life.

However, if your employer is asking because they don’t want to bear the burden of accommodating an individual on maternity leave that’s an entirely different matter. Employers with more than 50 employees are required to allow unpaid leave under FMLA, but employers with fewer employees don’t have to. However, under employment law in this great country, pregnancy falls under all the same protections as any other disability, so you can’t be fired for it. But that doesn’t stop many employers.

You should document every instance of this question, who asked it, and when. Also note who else might have heard it, even if they weren’t in the conversation. Ask the individual if they are aware this is an illegal question. Take it to Human Resources, if that’s available to you, and if not tell your supervisor. If that doesn’t help, take it up the chain and document everything.

If you are fired or laid off while pregnant or on maternity leave, contact an employment attorney to find out what your options are.

Call Miami Employment Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Employment Law and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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