Latest figures released by Citizens Advice reveal an increase in discrimination against pregnant women and new mums in the workplace.
The charity has warned that a growing number of workers are experiencing unfair treatment from their employers, with the agency reporting that the number of pregnancy discrimination enquiries it has dealt with has increased by almost 60 per cent in a two year period.
There were 2099 queries in 2013, but this had risen to 3,307 by 2015. The charity now believes that a new body may need to be created to enforce rights in the workplace.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Maternity protections are part of people’s employment rights but responsibility for enforcing these is poorly resourced and spread across a wide range of agencies, from HMRC to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
“This confusing landscape means some bad bosses are getting away with treating their employees unfairly.”
MPs have expressed similar concerns about the growing problem surrounding this type of discrimination, with Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee describing the situation as “shocking.”
Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, said that failing to tackle the problem could ultimately be detrimental to the economy, given the record number of women in work.
Lara Murray, an employment law specialist with Palmers, said: “Whether through ignorance or wilful disregard of discrimination laws, the number of employers who appear to be breaching employment laws is rising significantly.
“Employers must ensure that they do not treat women differently to other workers because of the fact that they are new or expectant mothers. If in doubt, seek legal advice on the matter as a failure to ensure you are acting within discrimination laws could result in an employment tribunal claim being brought against your business.”
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