Free legal advice for employers and employees

On pregnancy and maternity rights at work

Free legal advice for employers and employees

Martin Searle Solicitors have launched a Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Campaign ‘Mind the Bump 2015’ in response to new research carried out by the Equality & Human Rights Commission which suggests around 54,000 new mothers may be forced out of their job in Britain each year.

Martin Searle Solicitors’ campaign to end pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work includes a free telephone advice service for employers and employees concerned about the workplace rights of pregnant women and women on maternity leave.

Fiona Martin, Head of Employment Law at Martin Searle Solicitors, was invited to comment on this on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, following the survey of over 3,200 women.

Fiona Martin says: “Our first pregnancy and maternity discrimination campaign in 2005 was a result of the Equal Opportunities Commission’s research that estimated 30,000 mothers (7%) were forced out of their jobs each year. The latest research from the Equality & Human Rights Commission suggests that around 54,000 new mothers may be forced out of their jobs in Britain each year.

“This shows that despite our and other organisations campaigning to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace, this continues to be a major problem and blights the careers of many women. We are still encountering pregnancy and maternity discrimination on a weekly basis.”

Throughout October expert employment lawyers will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm to provide 30 minutes free advice for anyone concerned about pregnancy and maternity rights and responsibilities, maternity leave and return to work issues.

Fiona continues: “Equality in the workplace underpins good employment relations and ensures fairness. Employment legislation is there to prevent negative behaviour towards pregnant women and provide a level playing field. Unfortunately, too many employers are paying the price for ignoring the law.”

For free and confidential advice, employers and employees can call Martin Searle Solicitors’ pregnancy and maternity legal helpline Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout October from 4pm to 6pm on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

To support the campaign, Martin Searle Solicitors have also produced a series of factsheets, case studies and FAQs for employers and employees covering basic pregnancy and maternity rights in the workplace, returning to work after maternity, as well as avoiding pregnancy discrimination in a redundancy process. For more details visit www.ms-solicitors.co.uk.

For the full report please visit: www.equalityhumanrights.com/worksforme

It is unlawful for an employer to treat a woman unfavourably because she is pregnant, is ill because of her pregnancy, is on maternity leave, has taken maternity leave or has tried or intends to take maternity leave.
 
Examples of discrimination include:

  • Dismissal of a new employee as she has advised she is pregnant
  • Making a woman redundant or dismissal for another reason because she is pregnant, or on maternity leave
  • Fail to offer the same training or promotion opportunities to a woman because she is pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Dismissing a woman because of pregnancy-related sickness
  • Dismissing a woman on maternity leave shortly before she is due to return to work (or after she returns) and keeping the person covering her maternity leave on instead

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