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Need advice - Employer asking "Are you pregnant" questions to wife

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 4th, 2019 10:33 pm
[OP]
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Sep 8, 2008
194 posts
35 upvotes
Vancouver, Canada

Need advice - Employer asking "Are you pregnant" questions to wife

Before I dial those employment lawyers who will take my personal ids and employer details so just thought of throwing this topic here and see if this exercise is worth taking chance.

My wife is a self employed (Inc contractor) working for a client. She is working full time 40 hours a week with location and equipment provided by her employer. She has completed almost 65% of contract with this client and couple more months to go to reach the end date of the contract. She has been asking her manager to make her contract into full time employment. Now, the wife has recently been undergoing medical appointments and as a rule she needs to inform her manager, the manager recently asked her questions like "Are you pregnant". "If you become pregnant then let me know"

Now I don't know what are our rights to deal with this indirect threat (threat to lose a chance of getting potential employment with this employer) considering we are currently acting as a business.
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46 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
28816 posts
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Ottawa
Forget advice from RFD and go straight to legal counsel.
Member
Dec 13, 2017
209 posts
141 upvotes
when it comes to these issues alot of this comes down to tone, but yes this guy is being shady
Member
Dec 13, 2017
209 posts
141 upvotes
when it comes to these issues alot of this comes down to tone, but yes this guy is being shady
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
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Bay Area
vkizzle wrote:
Jun 12th, 2019 9:58 pm
Forget advice from RFD and go straight to legal counsel.
+1
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 23, 2008
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Edmonton
One thing to consider is that as a contractor, she may not be covered by the same protections as an employee would be. An employment lawyer may not even be the right resource for you. It might be a human rights issue more than an employment issue.

Good luck, in any case.

C
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2010
8597 posts
1014 upvotes
The question the OP has to ask himself is 'is my wife pregnant?'. If she is not, tell the employer she is not.

Trust goes both ways my friend. The company is shady but it be hard for company to hire a contractor into full time only to go on mat leave with top up and end of having to find a replacement.

We had new hire who work in the company for only 1 years but she has been in the company for 3. Consecutive pregnancies. The moment she got hire, she was gone on mat.
Deal Addict
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Mar 7, 2007
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I know that maybe YOU CANNOT post all the details. But...

I think you will have a hard time explaining how the questions are a threat (of any type). The manager can say that the only reason to ask the question was to plan and schedule the reminder of the work (to get another contractor in case your wife needs time off); In other words, the question was asked in good faith (not for the purpose of discrimination, but for the purpose of getting the job done). The manager may get reprimanded, punished, or fired, by the owner of the company, but you won't get anything out of it.

Now, if there is more to the story (that you CANNOT post), like the manager said clearly "if you get pregnant, you won't get the full time job that we discussed before", then it's a different story.

To be sure, talk to a lawyer, but it is not clear what the "threat" is, or what your actual loss is.
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 23, 2008
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Edmonton
Again... Not a "job". She's contract. It's a business to business relationship. Even if she wasn't pregnant now but became pregnant right after a new 1 year contract was started, she would probably have no protection if she took any time off for maternity. No "guaranteed" job to come back to.

C
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
28816 posts
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Ottawa
CNeufeld wrote:
Jun 13th, 2019 9:56 am
Again... Not a "job". She's contract. It's a business to business relationship. Even if she wasn't pregnant now but became pregnant right after a new 1 year contract was started, she would probably have no protection if she took any time off for maternity. No "guaranteed" job to come back to.

C
There's no job guarantee for full-time "permanent" employees either.
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Mar 23, 2008
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vkizzle wrote:
Jun 13th, 2019 10:02 am
There's no job guarantee for full-time "permanent" employees either.
That's why I put it in quotes... They're supposed to have a job to come back to, but stuff happens. The point is the same... A contractor doesn't even have that level of employment protection, AFAIK.

C
Member
Dec 13, 2017
209 posts
141 upvotes
spike1128 wrote:
Jun 13th, 2019 2:45 am
The question the OP has to ask himself is 'is my wife pregnant?'. If she is not, tell the employer she is not.

Trust goes both ways my friend. The company is shady but it be hard for company to hire a contractor into full time only to go on mat leave with top up and end of having to find a replacement.

We had new hire who work in the company for only 1 years but she has been in the company for 3. Consecutive pregnancies. The moment she got hire, she was gone on mat.
this why many ppl arent a huge fan of mat leave. If you work for a huge corp. they might be able to cover you. This can be a big problem for small business.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2011
8671 posts
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Edmonton
It's a total violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act, regardless if she's a "contractor". He's assessing her fit as an employee, no different than a standard interview.

Further, who determined she was a contractor? Her equipment and work location are all provided to her, and I'm assuming the hours of work are all set by the client. Generally this sort of thing lines up more as an employee/employer relationship rather than an actual contractor relationship.
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Mar 23, 2008
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clseea wrote:
Jun 13th, 2019 11:46 am
It's a total violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act, regardless if she's a "contractor". He's assessing her fit as an employee, no different than a standard interview.

Further, who determined she was a contractor? Her equipment and work location are all provided to her, and I'm assuming the hours of work are all set by the client. Generally this sort of thing lines up more as an employee/employer relationship rather than an actual contractor relationship.
If I was the company, I’d argue that I was assessing her ability to complete the contract as written. They should have merely asked if there was going to be any significant time off required for the duration of the contract, though. They may have screwed themselves by mentioning pregnancy.

But I’m neither a lawyer or in HR... I do feel like someone who signs a contract that they KNOW they can’t complete as agreed (for whatever reason) is signing it in bad faith. Again... not a lawyer.

C
[OP]
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Sep 8, 2008
194 posts
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Vancouver, Canada
motomondo wrote:
Jun 13th, 2019 9:21 am
I know that maybe YOU CANNOT post all the details. But...

I think you will have a hard time explaining how the questions are a threat (of any type). The manager can say that the only reason to ask the question was to plan and schedule the reminder of the work (to get another contractor in case your wife needs time off); In other words, the question was asked in good faith (not for the purpose of discrimination, but for the purpose of getting the job done). The manager may get reprimanded, punished, or fired, by the owner of the company, but you won't get anything out of it.

Now, if there is more to the story (that you CANNOT post), like the manager said clearly "if you get pregnant, you won't get the full time job that we discussed before", then it's a different story.

To be sure, talk to a lawyer, but it is not clear what the "threat" is, or what your actual loss is.
Although not pregnant now. The threat here is if she becomes pregnant in future and mentions yes months after but before the end date of contract then I feel she could end up completing the contract on goid faith but the employer may not convert her contract to a permanent role as initially the chance were high if she wasn’t pregnant.
If I think as a greedy business (employer) my ROI on this employee is less even if the productivity of this employee is 1.5x than a normal resource available in the market considering I am a mid sized business.
I feel that the standard employment lawyer may not be able to do something concrete here because the relationship as signed initially was business to business (this is getting quite common these days and beneficial to business unless someone challenges these human rights issue in court and with a powerful lawyer).
And now we are talking in news or political front about gender equality at workplace??
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