For pregnant workers, there's always a question of when to tell the company that you need some time off. For job applicants, the terrain can be trickier.

Q I made a job move about a year ago that I have realized was not for the best: I simply don't have a great interest in or aptitude for the subject matter. I am interested in returning to a previous employer. When I left, I was told that if I ever wished to return, I would be given top consideration for any open positions. This previous employer has an opening for a position I am very interested in, and I am inclined to contact my former supervisor to see if I might be considered for it.

However, I am four months pregnant. I am wondering if I should mention the pregnancy in the initial inquiry. I know I am not legally required to do so, but I don't really feel right about not mentioning that I'll need to be out for about six weeks to a few months down the road.

I'm not "showing" at all yet, so the pregnancy wouldn't be obvious if I were to interview in person. What would you suggest?

AJocelyn C. Frye, director of legal and public policy for the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, said that this worker "instinctively knows what the answer is. It's her choice. In that position, she's the best person to make the judgment."

Frye said the woman is correct in realizing that she legally does not have to disclose her pregnancy during her interview.

But the woman has "the unique advantage that she's worked for those people before," Frye noted, "so what I'd suggest is that she think what the job is, what she'd be asked to do, who she'd be working with, what's her relationship with them."

"So it becomes a personal decision for her, depending on how well she knows these people," Frye said. She added that therefore it could be perfectly appropriate to either tell an interviewer now, or, if she gets the job, or tell a supervisor in a month or so.

"You have to do what makes sense in building relationships," Frye said. "Then use your own best judgment. The law gives you some of the answer, but then you have to decide for yourself."

Whatever the case, Frye suggested that when she does disclose the pregnancy, the woman have a firm idea in mind about how long a leave she intends to take and to discuss it with the employer.

-- Kenneth Bredemeier

E-mail your workplace questions to Kenneth Bredemeier at bredemeier@washpost.com. Discuss workplace issues with him Wednesday at 11 a.m. at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.