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2014-04-17    来源:向Anne提问    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Dear Annie:I am a senior software developer with one daughter, and I just found out I'm expecting a second child. This is great news, of course, but the problem is, my first pregnancy was very complicated, requiring several weeks of bed rest (i.e., absence from the office). Luckily, my boss back then was sympathetic, and I could work from home most of the time without any major problem.

This time, though, I'm working for a different company, and my boss and teammates are all single men who have not been very accommodating, to put it mildly, when the few other women here have taken pregnancy leave, maternity leave, etc. Should I tell my boss now that I might have to be out for a while? Or should I wait and see? On the one hand, I don't want to seem as if I'm hiding anything, and I do want to give him enough advance notice to come up with a Plan B. On the other hand, I hesitate to bring this up, in case there are repercussions. Your thoughts? -- Due in October

Dear D.I.O.:First, congratulations! And second, here's hoping you work for a company that has 15 or more employees because, if so, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 protects you from most of the ominous-sounding "repercussions" you refer to. "Knowing your rights is key," says Tom Spiggle, an attorney and author of the forthcoming book, You're Pregnant? You're Fired!: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace.
亲爱的D.I.O.:首先说声恭喜!其次,希望你的公司规模在15人以上。原因是,如果这样的话,你将受1978年通过的联邦《怀孕歧视法案》(Pregnancy Discrimination Act)的保护,可以免受那些不利“影响”的困扰。律师汤姆•斯皮格尔表示:“了解自己的权利是关键。”斯皮格尔的新书《怀孕等于失业!保护职场父母和其他护理工作者》(You're Pregnant? You're Fired!: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace.)即将发行。

At most big companies with vigilant legal departments, he notes, managers are at least vaguely aware that they can't take any adverse action, including firing or demoting you, just because you're expecting. Even so, the number of pregnancy discrimination cases filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been rising for the past decade or so, falling slightly since 2010, from 4,029 to 3,541 last year.
斯皮格尔表示,在大多数设有法务部的大公司,管理者至少会大致明白,他们不能因为员工怀孕而采取任何不利措施,包括解聘或降职。但即便如此,在过去十年里,每年上诉到美国公平就业机会委员会(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)的怀孕歧视案件数量一直在增加,从2010年开始有小幅减少,从4,029起减少到去年的3,541起。

The prevalence of these cases, Spiggle speculates, is "probably because there are more women in the workplace, and more of them are delaying childbearing until they're farther along in their careers, so the stakes are higher." He adds that, in predominantly male businesses (like software development, for example), "front-line supervisors may not be too familiar with the law."

Whether or not your boss belongs in that category, Spiggle advises you to "tell him you're pregnant as soon as you're sure. But, if you're not experiencing any complications yet, don't bring up the possibility." If and when medical difficulties arise that can be documented by a doctor, you may qualify for protection under a different federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with health issues. "But until then, it's only hypothetical," Spiggle says. "So there's no reason to mention it."
不管你的老板懂不懂法,斯皮格尔都建议你“尽快告诉他你怀孕的事实。但如果你还没有遭遇任何孕期并发症,先不要提这种可能性。”如果病症的确发生并有医生确诊后,你将受到另外一部联邦法律——《美国残疾人法案》(Americans with Disabilities Act)的保护,该法案规定雇主对有健康问题的下属负有“合理对待”的义务。斯皮格尔说:“但如果迄今为止还只是假设。那你没必要提及。”

Elaine Varelas agrees. "At this point, give your boss and your team as much information as they need, but no more than that. Don't get into the 'what ifs,' which most people already know could occur, anyway, without your having to spell it out." A managing partner at executive coaching and development firm Keystone Partners, Varelas was the first woman at her company to take a maternity leave 18 years ago.
伊莱恩•威尔拉斯也赞同这种观点。她说:“现在,给你的老板和团队提供他们需要了解的信息足矣。不要提到 ‘假设的情况’,大多数人都知道这些情况有可能发生,不需要你亲口说出来。”威尔拉斯是高管培训与发展公司Keystone Partners的管理合伙人,在18年前,她是该公司第一位休产假的女性。

Varelas notes that anyone who expects to be away from the office in the future for any reason -- whether it's "a vacation, a honeymoon, a medical leave, or a maternity leave" -- should make a detailed plan. "Your goal is to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible during your absence," she says.

In particular, organize and document everything you're doing as thoroughly as you can. "You need to make it very easy and painless for other people to find information on your contacts and the status of your projects if you're not there and can't be reached," she says. "When people can't find things, that's when they get upset and start questioning your professionalism."

Speaking of documenting everything, let's get back to your concerns about repercussions. Maybe there won't be any. But after some time, if you have reason to believe that you're being, for example, passed over for promotion or denied plum assignments because you're pregnant, "report it in writing to human resources," Spiggle says.

On top of your other legal protections, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which covers companies with 50 or more employees, prohibits employers from retaliating against anyone for taking unpaid time off to deal with a medical condition. Creating a clear paper trail "can make it a lot easier to support your claim if it turns out that you have one." Good luck.
另外你还可以享受到的合法保护是,美国《家庭医疗休假法案》(Family and Medical Leave Act)禁止雇主打击报复因身体状况无薪休假的员工。该法案的管辖对象为50到50人以上的公司。制作一份清晰的书面记录,并妥善保存,当你真的遇到麻烦时,它“可以让你的上诉更容易得到支持。”(财富中文网)

Talkback:If you've ever been expecting a child while working, or if you took a parental leave, how and when did you tell your boss? Leave a comment below.

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