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Neutral comment doesn’t prove pregnancy discrimination

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in Management Training,Maternity Leave Laws

When an em­­ployee announces she is pregnant, the only appropriate re­sponse is “Con­grat­ulations!” Then give her the information she needs so she can take any leave to which she is entitled.

Negative comments can be used to prove pregnancy discrimination, but neutral ones cannot.

Recent case: Special education teacher Amy Silverman announced she was pregnant. Shortly after, she was informed that her contract would not be renewed because of budget cuts.

She sued, alleging pregnancy discrimination. As proof of bias, she said her supervisor told her that while she herself had taken off just one week following birth, Silverman should take all the time she felt she needed.

The court said the comment was neutral and couldn’t be used to prove discrimination. (Silverman v. Board of Education, No. 10-2977, 7th Cir., 2011)

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