New York partner Jerry Hathaway was quoted in an article in The American Lawyer titled “Trying to Get Pregnant? Management Would Like to Know.” The article relates the recent story of the chair of a large law firm’s litigation department “encouraging” women to tell management if they were pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, and discusses the legal ramifications of such a request.
“Asking about pregnancy is in itself not illegal, if done in a respectful way,” Jerry said, explaining that the tricky part is asking the question appropriately. The woman who’s put on the spot might wonder “whether giving that information has some impact on employment decisions being made about her, even when the decision has nothing to do with pregnancy status. So while not illegal, it is not advisable.”