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THE QUESTION

I have always wanted a family and just recently found out I am pregnant. My husband is excited and his family is supportive. However, this happened while interviewing for a full-time position as an office administrator. My wish is to take the position and return to it when my parental leave is done. Am I obliged to inform the company of my pregnancy? Will companies hire a pregnant woman?

THE FIRST ANSWER

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Kyle Couch

President & CEO, Spectrum Organizational Development Inc., Toronto

Double congratulations are certainly in order, firstly on your pregnancy, and secondly on your ability to potentially secure a new full-time position. With that said, pregnancy is protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act and this covers any discriminatory actions by your potential employer. In the event that you can prove that you were not hired for the position based on your pregnancy, you may be able to file a claim with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Organizations who demonstrate progressive human resources practices are far more encouraging of employees to have a healthy work-life balance.

Great talent is hard to find and therefore these organizations make several accommodations for employees including working from home, or providing "babies at work" policies to ensure new parents can be great workers and great parents at the same time. Given that the role is not based on a specific project, or emerging area of the business, your parental leave can likely be easily accommodated and covered by a contracted employee.

While you are not obligated to tell your employer that you are pregnant, you should tell them soon after you come on board. That way you can establish yourself in the role, and hand it off effectively to your temporary replacement. Then, upon your return, you can use your new parental skills of patience, scheduling, compassion and determination to your advantage at work.

THE SECOND ANSWER

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Zuleika Sgro

VP Retail, Saje Natural Wellness, VancouverFirst off, congratulations to you and your family. This is an exciting time on many fronts for you.

I always recommend transparency with your employer, especially for your well-being and health.

A top employer will be thankful for the transparency.

If formally offered the role, you can share your plan of transition to make it effective and support them with a replacement while you are off and that you have intentions to return.

Your pregnancy is also important to share in the event there are any health and safety concerns your employer may foresee in the role, or that your doctor may want you to be mindful of (such as heavy lifting).

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Sharing the news will help you on-board into the role in a transparent way and also partner with your employer as of Day 1.

Over all, your pregnancy should not be a factor for you being hired into the role. If you are the right fit based on your skills, this is what the decision should be based on.

Got a burning issue at work? Need help navigating that mine field? Let our Nine To Five experts help solve your dilemma. E-mail your questions to ninetofive@globeandmail.com.

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