19 February 2018
Many employers are in the “Dark Ages” with old fashioned views when it comes to recruiting pregnant women and young mothers.
That is the view of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) following a survey that found more than a third (36%) of people thought it was reasonable to ask women about their plans to have children during a job interview.
It found close to half (46%) felt it was acceptable to ask women if they had young children during the recruitment process.
The survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the EHRC among 1,106 male and female decision-makers of small, medium and large firms, also showed six in ten (59%) believed female job applicants should disclose whether they are pregnant.
EHRC Chief Executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said the figures show that many businesses had “attitudes decades behind the law.”
She said: “It is a depressing reality that, when it comes to the rights of pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace, we are still living in the dark ages.
We should all know very well that it is against the law not to appoint a woman because she is pregnant or might become pregnant.
Yet we also know that women routinely get asked questions around family planning in interviews.”
Employers need to be very careful when interviewing job applicants as some questions, which to some may seem reasonable or even innocent small talk, are in fact unlawful and could lead to claims against both the company and the interviewer personally.
Gill Brown, Head of Employment Law at Phillips Solicitors and her team are on hand to offer advice with this and any employment-related questions, for employers and employees.
To find out more about the EHRC visit www.equalityhumanrights.com/en
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