The Second detailed report into pregnancy and maternity discrimination by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has finally been released.
The comprehensive research, carried out in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, shows despite 77% of working mothers reporting potentially discriminatory or negative experiences, only around a quarter (28%) raised the issue with their employer, only 3% went through their employer’s internal grievance procedure, and less than 1% pursued a claim to the employment tribunal.
The survey of more than 3,000 mothers and 3,000 employers shows a range of reasons for this including the financial cost of pursuing a claim, fear of negative repercussions at work, lack of information about their rights, and stress and tiredness. Since the introduction in 2013 of tribunal fees of up to £1,200, the number of sex discrimination cases has dropped by 76% and pregnancy-related cases fell by 50%1.
The research also reveals the majority of employers (70%) thought a woman should declare at recruitment stage if they were pregnant, and a quarter thought that it was reasonable to question women of childbearing age at interview about their plans to have children. In addition to this, three in four (77%) mothers that were unsuccessful in their job interviews undertaken while pregnant (where the employer had known about their pregnancy) felt it had affected their chances of success.
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