Could Your Employer Predict Your Next Pregnancy?

posted: 02/19/16
by: Ashley Lauretta
pregnant woman workplace

We're all for a healthier workforce and employers who do their best to encourage wellness programs, but it looks like certain companies are taking this to the extreme. According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, employers are hiring firms to research some pretty personal health details.

This data mining happening via employee wellness and insurance programs provides companies with some information about the health of their workers. And while it is nice to think that your boss may just have your best interests at heart, it seems as though this data can get a bit too intrusive.

Firms such as Castlight Healthcare Inc. are collecting data on everything from impending surgeries to possible pregnancies. Author Rachel Emma Silverman writes:

"To determine which employees might soon get pregnant, Castlight recently launched a new product that scans insurance claims to find women who have stopped filling birth-control prescriptions, as well as women who have made fertility-related searches on Castlight's health app."

It was reported that this data is then matched with a woman's age and family history to predict her likeliness of getting pregnant.

What effect will this have on employee rights and maternity leave? While we'd like that employers will use this info to make pregnant women's lives easier, pregnancy discrimination is a prevalent issue, and the purpose of this information has yet to be defined.

And it's not just an issue for women thinking about trying to get pregnant -- those who are at-risk for chronic conditions and pricey surgeries are also being monitored.

Though it remains to be seen what employers will do with this information, it seems like not all of your medical information is as private as you thought.