- 4 years ago
Bees, I would love to hear your opinions on this.
Here’s what happened: My company recently had an open position. When interviewing candidates, we conduct peer interviews, where the candidate is interviewed by coworkers separately from the interview with management. I am usually picked to conduct peer interviews.
Me and 2 of my coworkers interviewed 4 people for the position, 2 men and 2 women. We ask all of them the same questions and are not allowed to deviate from this list of questions.
The way we interview is that the candidate is sitting in the conference room and we come in to interview the person, then we leave and management comes in. The 2 men and the one woman we interviewed stood up when we walked in and shook our hands, the other women did not stand up and just said hello from her seat. This immediately rubbed me the wrong way; I’m not sure why, but it did.
This woman that did not stand up seemed very aloof and distracted during the interview. She had the necessary experience and education for the job but compared to the other candidates, she didn’t give as good an interview. One of the questions we ask if there was anything that would prevent her from performing the responsibilities of the job – which is around 40-50% travel (some local which just involves driving, some continental US which would involve flying). She said there was not.
After the interviews we individually ranked the candidates and submitted our recommendations to management. Out of the 4 candidates, I ranked her 4th.
One of my friends works in HR for my company and she told me that the first guy we recommended did not accept the position and that this woman that I ranked 4th was offered it and accepted it. It was then that she told HR she was 7 months pregnant at the time. We did not obviously know this at the time we interviewed her as she was sitting and I’m guessing that’s why she didn’t stand up to shake our hands. My HR friend (who is her contact person for HR related matters) said that she immediately asked about maternity leave and FMLA. The company’s policy is that you have to be employed for a year before you can take paid maternity leave, however, legally they have to offer FMLA (which is unpaid). The woman wasn’t happy but accepted it. Oh, and I am in the US so FMLA is 12 weeks.
When people are hired into this position, they are usually trained for around 2-3 months before they are asked to travel. There is a big learning curve with our software and it’s not the easiest system to learn.
The woman started this past Monday and everyone was shocked to find out she was only going to be here a month before she goes out on maternity leave. She also brought in a doctor’s note saying she needed extra breaks to get up and walk around because she has an increased risk of blood clots. Her first day training she needed to leave early for a doctor’s appointment. My coworkers that are training her said she constantly gets up to take a break and even though she says she’s going to be gone for a few minutes, she’s gone for a lot longer, once for almost a half hour. Someone complained to my boss (who was one of the people that hired her) and he said he did not know she was pregnant and even if he did know that, he legally could not let that interfere with their decision to hire her. Because she is going to be on maternity leave, some of my coworkers are being asked to cover for her position – including the travel part – and they are really upset about it.
Maybe I just don’t understand because I’ve never been pregnant, but I would not take a job knowing I would be out of maternity leave so shortly after I started. It just seems irresponsible to me and unfair to the company. The office is very divided with those that are on her side (mostly women) and those that say she never should have even applied for the position (mostly men).
What do you think? Are my coworkers right to be upset?