One of readers asked on Friday to discuss Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s comment that employers should be able to ask women if they plan to get pregnant — even though it is illegal.
“There aren’t many women who attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, but those who do sure know how to make waves. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg told an audience this weekend that she believes employers should be able to speak freely with female employees about whether they plan to get pregnant. The question is considered taboo by HR departments (not to mention feminists) because it’s illegal (not to mention slimy) to discriminate against a job candidate or employee based on pregnancy status. Why is Sandberg, one of the top women in male-dominated Silicon Valley, in favor of changing the system?
“Sandberg wants a “much more open dialogue about gender” because women are held back professionally by stereotypes no one feels comfortable talking about. “Every HR department tells you not to do that,” she said, referring to discussing employees’ plans to start families, “but we need to have a much more open conversation.”
“ ‘Think of it like a marathon. Everyone’s cheering the men on. The messages for women are different: are you sure you want to run, don’t you want to run, don’t you have kids at home? We have to talk about this.’ ”
I found this on another website and they are examples of questions that are currently illegal to ask women in interviews.
“Illegal Interview Questions to Avoid
It’s not that women have an unfair advantage over men during the interview process, yet some federal and state laws prohibit prospective employers from asking certain questions that primarily relate to women.
Examples of questions that may discriminate include:
- Do you have any children? If so, how many and what are their ages?
- Are you single, married, divorced, or engaged?
- What kind of childcare arrangements do you have in place?
- Are you currently taking any form of birth control or fertility treatment?
- What are your plans if you get pregnant?
- Does your spouse work? If so, what does your spouse do for a living?
- Should we refer to you as Mr., Miss, or Mrs.?”
So the reader asks: “Should employers be able to ask female employees about their family planning?”