Charity warns pregnancy discrimination is on the increase

News Article

Discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace continues to increase, according to a warning issued by a national charity.

A report prepared by Citizens Advice found that a growing number of new and expectant mothers are being poorly treated by employers.

New figures from the national charity reveal a 25 per cent rise in people seeking advice on pregnancy and maternity discrimination over the past year. There has also been a 22 per cent increase in people seeking online help, with the charity’s web advice viewed 22,000 times over the last 12 months.

Common problems include reductions in hours, women being made to work on a zero-hours basis or, in the most serious cases, being forced out of their job.

Gillian Guy, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Pregnant women should be supported at work, not made to fear for their livelihood. It is concerning that more and more new and expectant mums are experiencing discrimination issues at work.

“People with a baby on the way will have a lot on their minds already. The last thing they need is a threat to their income or job security. All employers should respect and uphold the rights of staff who are new parents or expecting a baby.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR), which has itself identified a significant increase in discrimination since 2005, has previously called for reforms to give pregnant women greater protection.

Charlotte Woolven Brown, an employment law expert with Palmers, said: “The law is clear on issues relating to discrimination but sadly many individuals wrongly believe that there is little they can do to tackle such injustice.

“If an individual feels they have been unfairly treated or discriminated against it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.”

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