The Citizens Advice Bureau is warning that workplace discrimination against pregnant women is in on the rise across the UK.
The charity said they had found a nationwide trend in recent months, where expectant mothers were increasingly having their hours cut, being moved onto zero hours contracts or, in some cases, being forced out of their jobs by ‘unlawful’ employers.
Citizens Advice claimed that there was a 25 per cent increase in the number of Britons seeking advice on work-based pregnancy and maternity issues in the past year.
In one anonymous case, an expectant mother had her contract ended while she was on maternity leave – news which she did not discover until she contacted her employer to question why she had not received any maternity pay.
Another reported case saw a woman have her weekly hours cut by more than half upon informing her employer of her pregnancy.
These breaches of employment law, along with many others, highlight the importance of obtaining expert legal advice when faced with ‘unlawful’ employers or unexpected contract changes.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “It is concerning that more and more new and expectant mums are experiencing discrimination issues at work.
“Pregnant women should be supported at work, not made to fear for their livelihood.
“All employers should respect and uphold the rights of staff who are new parents or expecting a baby.”
A Government spokesman described the increase in discrimination as “unlawful and completely unacceptable”.
“Attracting and retaining female talent is crucial to economic growth and, as well as being against the law, it does not make business sense for employers to alienate and discriminate against women in their workforce,” he said.
Carter Lemon Camerons LLP solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch covering the full range of employment law issues, including discrimination. For more information about our employment law services, please contact Andrew Firman or telephone: 020 7406 1000.