EOC launches pregnancy discrimination investigation

The
Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has launched an 18-month investigation
into pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

Its
helpline receives more calls on this issue than any other, and is seeking to
find the reasons behind the problem so that it can be addressed.

An
opinion poll of 1,268 adults in July this year by BMRB for the EOC, found that
25 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men knew someone who had experienced
difficulties at work because of being pregnant. And one in five said they did
not believe pregnant women are treated fairly by employers.

Both
men and women showed a high awareness of pregnant women’s rights: 75 per cent
knew that pregnant women were entitled to time off for ante natal classes, and
87 per cent knew that women who returned to work within a year of giving birth,
were entitled to their old job.

A
small-scale study by the EOC last year found that difficulties were encountered
by pregnant women across many industries and occupations. The range of unfair
treatment they experienced included dismissal, lack of promotion, change of
salary terms, downgraded appraisals, and disciplinary action over performance.  www.eoc.org.uk

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