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Can I Lose My Contract If I Get Pregnant?

I'm a contemporary dancer, and I'm nervous about trying to get pregnant since I can't predict if it might happen during the middle of the season. We have a union contract that is supposed to protect us. But I'm scared because several of my colleagues' contracts weren't renewed for no particular reason. Having a big belly could be a big reason to get rid of me!

—Andrea, New York, NY


While it's true that even union contracts may not be renewed, you should be safe in terms of getting pregnant mid-season. It's illegal for any employer to fire a woman because of pregnancy, although some do get around this if you cannot perform your regular job.

Rather than assuming your company will comply, it's best to speak with your union rep to make sure that you fully understand your contract—small clauses like "being unable to perform" may work against you. If this is the case, you might try to time your pregnancy so that the later stages occur during a layoff, or enlist your union's help in negotiations.

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July 2021