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Is It Pregnancy Discrimination if Employers Track Employee Pregnancy?

By Dan Atkerson on February 29, 2016

Pregnant workerFinding out that you’re pregnant is supposed to be one of the most beautiful and positive experiences in your life. Unfortunately, for many women, that life-changing moment is often marred by the innumerous worries and fears surrounding how and when you inform your employers of the news.

Many women fear that their pregnancy could be used as an excuse to fire or demote them. Maybe one day we will live in a world where those fears never even enter another woman’s head again, but right now, in this world, pregnancy discrimination is a viable concern.

However, a woman’s decision about when to tell an employer about her pregnancy may not even be relevant anymore. It turns out, some employers may even be able to learn of a woman’s pregnancy before she is ready to share that information.

How Are Employers Tracking Employee Pregnancies?

A variety of healthcare analytics companies exist today that sift through medical records, pharmacy orders, and even internet searches to find employees who may be considering having a child or are already pregnant. These companies, like Castlight Health, boast an enormous client list with heavy hitters such as Time Warner and Walmart.

As illegal as this sounds, it is unfortunately legal as of now. Castlight does not only reveal employees thinking about pregnancy, but any sort of illness. They can tell a client how many people have diabetes, HIV, or cancer, for example.

Castlight obscures its controversial (some may say unethical) business in alleged anonymity. The company claims that it does not reveal the names of specific employees, only the number of employees in a particular group.

For example, they will tell a client such as Walmart that there may be 100 workers thinking about becoming pregnant, but will not reveal the names. They also claim to inform clients only of the groups with 40 or more people to reduce the risk of singling people out, but companies may be inclined to hire less women in general if they learn many of them are considering becoming pregnant. That’s pregnancy discrimination.

Employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson is proud to offer legal representation for employees subjected to sexual harassment and workplace discrimination in the Dallas area.

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