We are launching our yearly campaign in March to stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work. This includes a free 30-minute telephone advice service for employers and employees concerned about the workplace rights of pregnant women and women on maternity leave.
We have campaigned to stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace since starting our firm in 2004.
A survey carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 1 in 9 mothers were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job. 1 in 5 mothers reported harassment or negative comments related to pregnancy or flexible working, and 10% said that their employer discouraged them from attending antenatal appointments.
Fiona Martin, Director and Head of Employment Law, says: “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is still the most common form of sex discrimination in the workplace. It is important that we continue to educate and support employers while advising employees of their rights, to shift cultural attitudes at work and stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination once and for all.”
Fiona continues: “The most common scenario is when a woman tries to return from maternity leave and finds out that her job has ‘disappeared’. We help women raise grievances and negotiate compensation through Settlement Agreements, to avoid lengthy, stressful and expensive Tribunal claims.”
International Women’s Day, on 8 March 2020 is being celebrated around theme of #EachForEqual. This will challenge stereotypes, fight bias, and celebrate women’s achievements and emphasising that “an equal world is an enabled world”.
Fiona says ‘Where there is gender balance, we would expect to see pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace eradicated. We need to cultivate a healthy workplace culture in the UK where taking time off to have children is not seen as a lack of commitment.’
To support their campaign, we have produced a series of factsheets, case studies and FAQs for employers and employees covering basic pregnancy and maternity rights in the workplace, returning to work after maternity, as well as avoiding pregnancy discrimination in a redundancy process.
On Thursday 19 March, we will be running a free training course at our office on ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Leave – Best Practice for Employers’ starting at 9.15am. To book, click here.
For confidential advice, employers and employees can call our free pregnancy and maternity legal helpline on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout March from 4pm to 6pm on 01273 609911, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.