The web is not short of stories from women who have experienced some level of discrimination at work after they’ve announced they were pregnant. Whether it’s a case of being passed for a pay rise or promotion, being labelled as lazy or seen as ‘less committed’, maternity discrimination of this type does happen more often than we might think.
In a new research released last week, six out of ten of those polled reported feeling that their career options were limited as soon as they announced they were pregnant. This research was commissioned by law firm Slater & Gordon and represents a sample from thousands of women who every year fight against maternity discrimination in the UK.
Furthermore in response to mounting concern the government has given a £1m grant to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to research the full extent of the problem and its impact on society.
It is good to know that this type of research is taking place and with my own experience from work fresh on my mind, this is a subject I will be following closely. One thing that concerns me is that this type of research often doesn’t take into account the experiences of women that did not formally raise their complaint.
What many don’t realise is that raising a case with employment tribunal is not as easy as it might appear. The cost alone is enough to deter many, not to mention the three month deadlines you must meet while also making sure you’ve taken your case through the company grievance process as well as through ACAS.
Now as I approach the start of my maternity leave and also my last month in pregnancy I am in a reflective mood. I am not as scared about what will happen to my career as I was at the start of this journey. It doesn’t matter anymore.
As we approach the general election there is already debate around working mothers. The current government are behind changes that has made taking employers to the employment tribunal difficult. And so I look forward to seeing how things will unfold at this election. Family and work seems as always to be on top of the agenda.
Thoughts and comments are welcome. Have you experienced discrimination at work while you were pregnant OR did you decide not to return to work for other reason. I would love to hear from you.