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Does an employee have to disclose her pregnancy when applying for a job?

by , 19 October 2016
Does an employee have to disclose her pregnancy when applying for a job?One question that always crops up when it comes to maternity leave matters is whether or not employees or job applicants should disclose that they're pregnant when applying for a job. Read on to find out what labour law says about this so you can avoid a court battle.

An employee DOES NOT have to disclose her pregnancy when applying for a job

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that in the case of Thandi Mashava v Cuzen and Woods Attorneys (2000) 21 ILJ 402 (LC) the Court held that employees needn't disclose their pregnancy to their employers.

The Loose Leaf Service goes on to say that the court also found that the dismissal of Thandi Mashava on the basis of deceit for withholding that information from her employer amounted to an automatically unfair dismissal.

You may recall that in 2012, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's CEO set a precedent as the first woman to ever take the top position while pregnant.

While women don't have to disclose that they're pregnant to prospective employers, Mayer chose to reveal her pregnancy.

According to Forbes.com, Mayer told Fortune that the Yahoo board seemed unconcerned about the pregnancy, saying, 'They showed their evolved thinking.'

This is exactly the kind of thinking that you must show in your workplace.

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The danger with asking an employee to disclose her pregnancy when applying for a job

In this article, we explained that the Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after the Birth of Her Child states that no person may be discriminated against or dismissed on account of pregnancy.

So if you ask an employee to disclose her pregnancy, you could be opening to the door to unfair discrimination claims. Your employee could accuse you of pregnancy discrimination.

The bottom line is that you must NEVER ask an employee to disclose her pregnancy when applying for a job. Make sure you comply with this requirement so you can avoid court battles.



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