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Question:  Are we allowed to ask a candidate in an interview if she is pregnant, or put a question on the employment application asking about pregnancy?


Answer:  NO.  You do not want to ask a candidate to answer a question either verbally or on an application is she is pregnant or planning to have children.  You would be opening your organization up to potentially costly discrimination claims if you did.  Here’s why:

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.  For more information visit: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/pregnancy.cfm. (Source)

Question:  What are the requirements for male employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Parental Leave?  If males have to be treated the same as females, would they be eligible for short-term disability benefits for the birth or adoption of a child?


Answer:  Under the federal FMLA rules, the law does provide benefits and job-protected leave to both eligible parents for the birth or adoption of a son or daughter.  Some states have additional rules and rights, so check your state laws as well.  This right applies to both fathers and mothers as long as the employer is a covered employer and the new parent meets each of the following FMLA requirements (Source:  DOL Fact Sheet #28; http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.pd):

  • Works for a covered employer;
  • Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months;
  • Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave*; and
  • Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
Short-term disability benefits typically only apply when the eligible employee is actually disabled as a result of the illness or injury.  In the case of pregnant female employees disabled as a result of the pregnancy, STD benefits may apply.  However, in the case of adoption (for both sexes) and the father (for the birth of his child), there has been no disabling medical condition as a result of the new child so benefits generally would not apply.  Check your STD Plan Documents for the terms and conditions for benefits under the plan. (Source)

 

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