More than one in four mothers feels they have been discriminated against at work, either while pregnant or when returning to work, according to research published today.
The research of 2,000 working mothers by law firm Slater and Gordon found many mothers felt employers’ attitudes towards them changed once they fell pregnant.
The research also revealed that a third of almost 2,000 working mothers did not bother to make a formal complaint about the discrimination.
Half of those polled said they felt left out or not taken seriously at work after having a child, while two in five believed younger colleagues with no children were given more support and encouragement.
Three in five said they thought pregnancy was a problem in their workplace and a third said they found it “impossible” to climb the career ladder after giving birth. Half of those polled said they were overlooked for a promotion, whilst almost a fifth were demoted and more than a third had responsibility taken off them. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Pregnancy discrimination causes terrible suffering for women and their families.”
The research found almost half of working mothers felt having children halted their career progression and four in 10 felt they don’t have sufficient support from their managers.
This research reveals worrying results and should act as a wake-up call for employers to ensure equal opportunities are championed within the culture of their organisation. No modern business should prevent staff from pursuing their career just because they are now a parent. Working mothers provide a valuable contribution to business and a diverse workforce allows business to better understand its consumers.
By introducing tribunal fees of up to £1,200 on the 29th July this year, we can only hope that women will not be deterred from taking legitimate claims of pregnancy discrimination to court, although I fear this may be the case.