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Abstract

Notwithstanding recent gains, women have still not achieved parity with men in the workplace. This is further complicated by common negative images of pregnant women (Taylor and Langer, 1977). The present study investigated (1) stereotypes about pregnant working women, and (2) the effect of an employee's pregnancy on performance evaluation. In the first study, subjects' attitudes about pregnant employees were assessed via questionnaire. Substantial negative stereotyping was found to exist, especially among males. In Study 2, subjects viewed videotapes of either a pregnant or a non-pregnant women doing assessment-center-type tasks and were asked to evaluate her performance. When the employee was pregnant, she was consistently rated lower compared to when she was non-pregnant. A main effect of rater sex and a rater sex by pregnancy condition interaction were found, indicating that males assigned lower ratings than females and were also more negatively affected by the pregnancy condition. Implications for organizational policy regarding employee pregnancy and performance appraisal systems are discussed.