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July 17, 2013

You Can’t Ask If I’m Pregnant, but You Can Ask Me to “EAT MOR CHIKIN”

Filed under: HR Consulting — Tags: 8:20 am

A Chick-fil-A franchise restaurant in Concord Commons, North Carolina, violated federal law when it refused to hire Heather Morrison, a female job applicant, because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.  At the time of the interview Morrison was six months pregnant.  During the interview, the owner asked Morrison a series of pregnancy-related questions such as how many months she had been pregnant; when she was expected to deliver; her childcare plans after giving birth; and how much maternity leave she planned to take.  Morrison thought the owner’s questions were inappropriate, but answered them because she wanted the job.  Three days after the interview, the owner called Morrison and informed her that she would not be hired and to call back after she had the baby and had childcare in place.  This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Commenting on this lawsuit, EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney, Tina Burnside, said, “Pregnant women must be treated in the same manner as other applicants, and employers should not make inquiries related to pregnancy or deny a woman a job based on pregnancy.”

Though this case was filed against the owner whose alleged conversation with this applicant was in violation of the law, employers should take heed and make sure their hiring managers are well versed as to what questions are appropriate during an interview.  Providing training and interview practice sessions to help managers become adept at asking open-ended, job-related questions can save your company time, money, and embarrassment.  No business wants this type of free publicity, especially when you may have to put the cows (“EAT MOR CHIKIN”) back out to pasture!

Do your hiring policies and procedures need audited?  Do your hiring managers need interview training?  Our experts at can help!



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