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Employers “Living in the Dark Ages” when it comes to pregnant women and new mothers, says Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

23 February 2018

A YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has exposed that 41% of managers think pregnancy in the workplace places “an unnecessary cost burden” on employers.

The risk of discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers during the recruitment process remains particularly high. Over one third of managers surveyed believe it is reasonable to ask women about their intentions to start a family.

The figures also showed that 46% of employers think it is reasonable to ask women whether they have young children during the recruitment process. Such questions may actively discourage women in senior roles from returning to the workplace, which may negatively impact an organisation’s gender pay gap.

The results also showed that employers struggle to deal with discrimination beyond the recruitment process, with 51% of employers admitting that there is sometimes resentment amongst employees towards women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.

Employers need to be vigilant when it comes to potential bias and discrimination, and ensure that all staff receive regular equality training, as they may be held vicariously liable for the discriminatory acts of their employees.

Martha Craven

Martha Craven
Trainee Solicitor

T: 0118 953 3929


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