Maternity leave discrimination case reaches £15,000 settlement

A
manager who was offered a part-time post as a receptionist when she returned
from her maternity leave has settled her sex discrimination claim against her
former employer and received £15,000.

Elizabeth
Jones had worked for Huntingdon-based TT Audio Plastics for more than seven
years and had held the post of production controller for more than five years.

She
alleged that her proposal to  work
part-time on a short-term basis and do some work from home until she had
finalised her childcare arrangements was rejected out of hand by the directors.
Instead, she was offered a part-time receptionist post on £6 an hour, compared
with £10 an hour in her previous  job.

Jones
claimed her manager also assumed she would want fewer responsibilities than
before, and expressed surprise that she was interested in responsibility and
status now.

As
part of the settlement agreement, TT Audio Plastics has also agreed to implement
a comprehensive equal opportunities policy, to provide equal opportunities
training for all staff, and to provide a reference for Jones.

The
case was supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). Julie Mellor, chairwoman
of the EOC, said: "It is a tragedy when women returning to work after
having a baby are prevented from making full use of their skills.

"It
means they and their families lose out – women working part-time still earn an
incredible 40 per cent less per hour than men working full-time. It means their
employer loses out on the years of experience they bring. And it means
Britain’s economy loses out on what these women have to offer."

By
Quentin Reade

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