Our campaign #Givemesix gives pregnant and postpartum women greater access to justice

Our campaign #Givemesix gives pregnant and postpartum women greater access to justice

We have joined forces with a team of Law Students from Warwick University to launch a campaign to increase the time limit to take a case of pregnancy and maternity discrimination to tribunal. The current law states that from the point of discrimination a victim has 3 months less 1 day to raise a tribunal claim. Despite the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Women and Equalities Select Committee recommending that this time limit be increased to 6 months, the Government has failed to act, saying there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that the time limit is problematic.

Through the stories we collect on the site and the thousands of women we speak to we know that the 3 month time limit means that pregnant and postpartum women, who are victims of discrimination, are forced to make a choice between justice and their health. This is clearly unreasonable and one of the reasons why less than 1% of discrimination victims raise a tribunal claim.

The campaign will be a petition and we will be collecting stories from women who have been unable to access justice due to the time limit.

The #Givemesix campaign will run for 6 months. It will be an online petition that will be presented to Greg Clark MP and will collect and release stories from women who have been unable to access justice due to the 3 month time limit.

Last year, The Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs as a direct consequence of maternity or pregnancy discrimination and 77% of working mums endure negative or discriminatory treatment at work. Yet, fewer than 1% raise a Tribunal claim. The law is very clear that discrimination is illegal but the majority of pregnant women and new mums have limited access to justice due to a lack of free legal advice, the high cost of bringing a claim and the restrictive time limit of 3 months.

The number of mums who lose their jobs for getting pregnant has almost doubled in 10 years. Far from improving, the situation has drastically deteriorated and significant numbers of women are being affected. With most women being unable to access justice, it is likely we will see further increases in pregnancy or maternity discrimination.

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said:

“There is clear evidence which demonstrates the negative impact stress can have on the health of an unborn child. The prospect of an employment tribunal generates immense stress, at a time when a woman is incredibly vulnerable. For postpartum women, they are usually dealing with sleepless nights and many are also challenged by issues with their mental or physical health. In both cases a mother’s priority is likely to be her child, as it should be, mothers should not be forced to make a choice between the health of themselves, their child and justice. Increasing the time limit to bring a case to tribunal to six months brings it in line with other worker’s rights legislation and we encourage everyone to sign the online petition to help protect women’s rights at work.”

Students from Warwick University said:

‘’Mothers in the UK are a hugely important part of our society and they deserve access to justice.”

To sign the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/greg-clark-mp-give-new-and-expectant-mothers-six-months-to-pursue-discrimination-claims

You can follow the campaign at #Givemesix

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