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Do mothers and pregnant women need stronger protection against workplace discrimination?

View profile for Maria Chadwick
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Three in four mothers say they have had a negative or discriminatory experience

It has been reported by Business Department research in 2016 that one in nine women had been fired, or made redundant, when they returned to work after having a child or were treated so badly that they felt forced out of their job.

The study also suggested that approximately 54,000 women may lose their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity every year.

In May 2019, MP Maria Miller reported that she had approached government to propose an extension to the three month less one day time limit for bringing a claim of discrimination in the employment tribunal, to extend the protection for women who are pregnant or on maternity leave against discrimination in the workplace.

However, it is reported that a campaign group have suggested that this would make “very little difference” on the basis that “fewer than 1% of women who experience pregnancy or maternity discrimination raise a tribunal claim.”

In a poll for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, it is reported that its study showed that many employers needed more support to better understand the basics of discrimination law and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers. It is reported that EHRC Chief Executive Rebecca Hilsenarth stated: “it is a depressing reality that, when it comes the right of pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace, we are still living in the dark ages”.

Have you suffered pregnancy and maternity discrimination?

Pregnancy and maternity is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. If an employer or service provider treats you unfavourably, or puts you at a detriment as a result of being pregnant, breastfeeding or because you have recently given birth, you may have been discriminated against.

If you feel that you have been treated differently or have been subjected to a detriment due to pregnancy or maternity, please call our specialist discrimination team for further advice on 0175 321 6399.

Advice for businesses, organisations and service providers

As an employer, organisation or service provider you are under a duty to ensure that you and your employees have sufficient equality and diversity training, to ensure that you are aware of any potential claims that may be made pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

Please follow our social media channels to keep up to date about our seminars and training sessions, available for businesses and service providers in this regard.

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