Ex-Peloton director says disclosing pregnancy hit job prospects: ‘100% of the companies I told went from scheduling interviews to declining to bring me in for a final round’

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Many employment resources today claim that job hunting while pregnant is much the same as securing a new role at any other time in your life. After all, working mothers are more visible than ever before—Jen Psaki got promoted to the White House’s top comms job while pregnant, and Nada Noaman landed her dream C-suite job at Estée Lauder while expecting.

It’s what Kate Winick was reassured of after being laid off from her director role at Peleton in April 2023 when she was five months pregnant and “terrified”.

“Many people (all of them men) told me it would be fine, companies just want to hire the right people, invest in talent for the long term,” she wrote on LinkedIn on Mother’s Day.

However, her experience highlights the grim reality that unemployed pregnant women face: Despite having 15 years of experience under her belt, including at the editorial giant Hearst, the ex-Peleton director says that she was instantly dropped from job interviews after disclosing her pregnancy.

“100% of the companies I told went from scheduling interviews to declining to bring me in for a final round,” she added.

Women don’t legally have to disclose their pregnancy at any point of the interview process, however, as a corporate worker “who has internalized our existing value system that says pregnancy is a liability, a risk, a loss to the company,” Winick said that she felt obliged to do so. Plus, she didn’t want to “ruin the relationships” she had with recruiters.

Since becoming a mom, the New York-based marketing executive revealed that she’s still not struck any luck in finding employment—despite showing up for job interviews, including just 13 days after giving birth. 

“I was incredibly naive to think that in 2024, it was finally possible to become a mom without taking a hit to your career,” she concluded. “I know no woman whose trajectory hasn’t been affected, temporarily or permanently.” 

Fortune has contacted Winick and Peleton for comment.

‘It’s a liability’

Winick’s Mother’s Day LinkedIn post about the toll birthing children takes on women’s careers has resonated with thousands of users in less than 24 hours. 

“I have also been out of a job and pregnant,” one user commented. “You’ve described it perfectly. It’s terrifying, and we’re convinced, as you say, that it’s a liability. But some employees are parents… The only place that would hire me when they knew I was pregnant was a diversity and inclusion consultancy.”

“I stopped mentioning I’m a parent in interviews because my experience has consistently been that the interest is dropped immediately afterwards,” another added.

Another chimed that she’s had to turn down jobs that lack remote options: “It’s 2024, and we are still so woefully missing the mark when it comes to working moms.”

Despite how far the needle has seemingly moved for working mothers—executives are even proudly listing stay-at-home-parent in their career history on LinkedIn now—many commented that Winick’s experience highlights that biases are still prevalent and that women are better off hiding their pregnancy from recruiters. 

The Motherhood Penalty is alive and well 

It’s no secret that getting a new job is hard, with candidates constantly complaining about the endless hoops that recruits are making them jump through to prove they’re the perfect match, from endless rounds of interviews to 90-minute tests and presentations. 

But for unemployed pregnant women and mothers, research consistently shows that they’ve got the added challenge of contending with managers’ old-fashioned opinions.

Around a quarter of a million mothers have quit their jobs in recent years in the U.K. alone, thanks to “outdated and toxic attitudes around motherhood” according to equal rights charity, the Fawcett Society.

Women previously told Fortune about their experience with the Motherhood Penalty, including being compared to a broken-down race car and forced to join calls during their baby’s bathtime.

Plus, expectant women’s experience with toxic preconceptions doesn’t end when their baby bump disappears—research shows that outdated stereotypes continue to follow women well into motherhood and have a tangible impact on their long-term trajectory at work.

Princeton University and the London School of Economics collected data from 134 countries and concluded that the Motherhood Penalty can still impact women’s careers 10 years after giving birth.

It’s no wonder that the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Allen have confessed that they felt forced to pick between motherhood or career success.



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