Maternity Discrimination on the Rise
Posted on 8th January 2021 at 12:57
The Women and Equalities Committee has called for UK women to have increased protections after describing the increase in workplace pregnancy discrimination ‘shocking’ over the past decade.
Despite the protection already afforded under the Equality Act 2010, enabling pregnancy and discrimination complaints to be brought to the tribunal, recent figures have shown that there is an increase in women in the workplace facing negative or discriminatory treatment either directly before, during or after maternity leave, and that an estimated 54,000 women, which has doubled over past decade, are forced out of their job each year due to pregnancy.
Discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers
Under the Equality Act, It is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of pregnancy or maternity from the initial job application process through to dismissal.
New figures from the national charity Citizens Advice has reported a 25% rise in women contacting the charity for help with maternity leave problems in the past year. Evidence from Citizens Advice reveals pregnant women and new mothers new mums have had their working hours cut, been put onto zero-hours contracts, and pressured to return to work early from maternity leave, and reported that the most common issue it dealt with in relation to maternity leave was being made redundant followed by a reduction in hours, including being moved to a zero-hours contract and having a role changed upon return to work.
Citizens Advice believes that the introduction of fees (since 2013) for employment tribunals has hindered the ability of the employee to pursue claims for discrimination/dismissal in the tribunal and therefore led to employees becoming very vulnerable.
Following a report released earlier this year, with statistics showing a drop in claims being brought at 70%, the Justice Committee called on the government to consider a reduction in such fees and further special consideration of the position of women alleging maternity or pregnancy discrimination, for whom, the time limit of three months for bringing a claim should also be reviewed. The response from the government is eagerly awaited.
Contact expert lawyers DSM Legal Solicitors in Warrington today
Should you or your business require any further guidance on the above points or on discrimination claims, please contact us on 01925 937070.
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