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专栏 - 向Anne提问

你该何时告诉老板你怀孕了?

Anne Fisher 2014年04月16日

Anne Fisher为《财富》杂志《向Anne提问》的专栏作者,这个职场专栏始于1996年,帮助读者适应经济的兴衰起落、行业转换,以及工作中面临的各种困惑。
怀孕的女性当然享有法定权利,但办公室政治也不可轻忽。本文将教你如何应对这种可能比较棘手的问题。

    亲爱的安妮:我是一名高级软件开发工程师,已经有一个女儿,最近刚刚发现自己又怀上了二胎。这当然是喜事,但问题在于,我的第一次怀孕状况百出,要卧床休息多周(无法去办公室上班)。幸运的是,当时的老板很有同情心,公司没什么要紧事的话我可以大多数时间在家工作。

    但这一次我换了一家公司,老板和团队成员都是单身男士,当为数不多的女同事因怀孕生产休假的时候,这些男士,委婉地说,一直都不太能适应。我该现在就告诉老板,我可能不得不休假一段时间吗?或者我应该观望一下?一方面,我不想让别人认为我在隐瞒什么,希望尽早告诉老板,以便他能制定应急方案。另一方面,由于担心可能会带来不利影响,我又有些犹豫要不要说。您有什么建议?——D.I.O.

    亲爱的D.I.O.:首先说声恭喜!其次,希望你的公司规模在15人以上。原因是,如果这样的话,你将受1978年通过的联邦《怀孕歧视法案》(Pregnancy Discrimination Act)的保护,可以免受那些不利“影响”的困扰。律师汤姆•斯皮格尔表示:“了解自己的权利是关键。”斯皮格尔的新书《怀孕等于失业!保护职场父母和其他护理工作者》(You're Pregnant? You're Fired!: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace.)即将发行。

    斯皮格尔表示,在大多数设有法务部的大公司,管理者至少会大致明白,他们不能因为员工怀孕而采取任何不利措施,包括解聘或降职。但即便如此,在过去十年里,每年上诉到美国公平就业机会委员会(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)的怀孕歧视案件数量一直在增加,从2010年开始有小幅减少,从4,029起减少到去年的3,541起。

    斯皮格尔推测,该类案件的普遍性“可能是因为职场女性越来越多,而且更多人会推迟生育,直到她们在职场上达到足够的高度,这导致风险也变得更高。”他补充道,在男性主导的行业(如软件开发等),“基层管理人员可能并不熟悉该类法律。”

    

    Dear Annie:I am a senior software developer with one daughter, and I just found out I'm expecting a second child. This is great news, of course, but the problem is, my first pregnancy was very complicated, requiring several weeks of bed rest (i.e., absence from the office). Luckily, my boss back then was sympathetic, and I could work from home most of the time without any major problem.

    This time, though, I'm working for a different company, and my boss and teammates are all single men who have not been very accommodating, to put it mildly, when the few other women here have taken pregnancy leave, maternity leave, etc. Should I tell my boss now that I might have to be out for a while? Or should I wait and see? On the one hand, I don't want to seem as if I'm hiding anything, and I do want to give him enough advance notice to come up with a Plan B. On the other hand, I hesitate to bring this up, in case there are repercussions. Your thoughts? -- Due in October

    Dear D.I.O.:First, congratulations! And second, here's hoping you work for a company that has 15 or more employees because, if so, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 protects you from most of the ominous-sounding "repercussions" you refer to. "Knowing your rights is key," says Tom Spiggle, an attorney and author of the forthcoming book, You're Pregnant? You're Fired!: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace.

    At most big companies with vigilant legal departments, he notes, managers are at least vaguely aware that they can't take any adverse action, including firing or demoting you, just because you're expecting. Even so, the number of pregnancy discrimination cases filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been rising for the past decade or so, falling slightly since 2010, from 4,029 to 3,541 last year.

    The prevalence of these cases, Spiggle speculates, is "probably because there are more women in the workplace, and more of them are delaying childbearing until they're farther along in their careers, so the stakes are higher." He adds that, in predominantly male businesses (like software development, for example), "front-line supervisors may not be too familiar with the law."        

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