A new report from the Fawcett Society has found that as many as 54,000 pregnant women and working mothers are pressured to leave their job early each year, but just 1% of cases go to tribunal. In addition, many women are not protected after they return to work from maternity leave.
These findings are contained in the recently published Sex Discrimination Law Review report, which covered a number of different issues, including harassment at work, domestic violence and sexual offences.
In addition to the alarming pregnancy statistics, the report also revealed that in the area of employment:
- Progress on closing the pay gap has stalled, and a lack of transparency prevents women from challenging unequal pay and legal cases can take many years to resolve
- Statutory maternity and paternity pay is amongst the lowest in Europe
- Shared Parental Leave is not enough to enable many fathers to take time off work to care for their children
- If someone is discriminated against because of more than one aspect of their identity they are not protected by the law
“What we see is a deeply misogynistic culture where harassment and abuse are endemic and normalised coupled with a legal system that lets women down because in many cases it doesn’t provide access to justice,” commented Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society.
The report calls for a number of employment reforms, including:
- Strengthening the law on sexual harassment at work to protect women from harassment from ‘third parties’ who may be customers, service users or contractors.
- Placing more responsibility onto the employer to be proactive by introducing a new duty on large organisations to prevent discrimination and harassment in their workplaces
If you have been the victim of pregnancy or maternity discrimination at work then contact our specialist employment lawyers today.