“Our pregnancy and maternity campaign highlights the gender inequality in UK workplaces. Our free advice and training is provided to work towards making workplaces discrimination-free.”- Fiona Martin, Director and Head of Employment Law, Martin Searle Solicitors
BRIGHTON, United Kingdom (PRWEB) December 12, 2022
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace was rife prior to and during the lockdowns and unfortunately this worrying trend seems to be only getting worse.
An April 2021 survey by the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed found that 30% of mothers had experienced discrimination from an employer, whilst the number of Employment Tribunal claims of pregnancy and maternity discrimination continue to rise, becoming the fifth most common discrimination claim in 2020-21.
Sadly, outdated and discriminatory attitudes are all too common among business leaders. The Pregnant Then Screwed survey found that 40% of employers claim to have seen at least one pregnant woman in their workplace “take advantage” of their pregnancy, whilst around a third believed that pregnant women and new mothers in work were “generally less interested in career progression” compared to other employees.
Martin Searle Solicitors’ campaign will challenge these biased perceptions and provide clear information outlining best practice for employers on their responsibilities around pregnancy and maternity at work. They will also help employees understand their legal rights when pregnant or on maternity leave.
Access to legal advice and representation is crucial and Martin Searle Solicitors will be offering a free 30-minute telephone advice service every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout January 2023, for employers and employees concerned about the workplace rights of pregnant women and women on maternity leave.
They are also offering training for both employers and employee advisors and representatives.
Fiona Martin, Director and Head of Employment Law, says: “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace continues to be a growing issue. Our Employment Law team have advised numerous employers who have inadvertently treated pregnant women or women on maternity leave unfavourably.
This is in conjunction to employees who have been unfairly discriminated against by being dismissed because they are pregnant or have been unfairly selected for redundancy as they try to return to work, after taking maternity leave.
It is even more important that we continue to educate and support employers while advising employees of their employment law rights, so that we stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination once and for all.”
Fiona continues: “Other common scenarios include employers counting maternity related sickness when using sick leave as a criteria for making people redundant. Another example is where an employer, in a redundancy situation, fails to appreciate that a woman on maternity leave has priority over all other employees, if there is competition for a suitable alternative role.
We also act for pregnant women who have advised their employer they are pregnant and the employer wrongly believes that they can dismiss without any consequences because they don’t have two years’ service. We also act for a large number of women who, when they are due to return from maternity leave, find out that their job has ‘disappeared’ and they are being made redundant. We help women raise grievances and negotiate compensation through Settlement Agreements, to avoid lengthy, stressful and expensive Employment Tribunal claims.”
Fiona says: “Our pregnancy and maternity campaign highlights this type of gender inequality in UK workplaces. Together with our free advice line, our training to both employers and employee representatives is provided to work towards making UK workplaces discrimination-free.”
To support their campaign, Martin Searle Solicitors have 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 and maternity discrimination in redundancy processes. For more details visit http://www.ms-solicitors.co.uk.
On Thursday 26 January 2023, from 1pm – 2pm, Martin Searle Solicitors will be running a free virtual seminar on ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination – A Guide for Advisers representing Employees and Workers’. To book, click here.
They will also be running a virtual seminar for HR Managers and Employment Lawyers on ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination’ on Tuesday 31 January 2023 from 10.30am - 12pm, in association with MBL Seminars. To book, see here.
For confidential advice, employers, workers and employees can call Martin Searle Solicitors’ free pregnancy and maternity legal helpline on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout January from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on 01273 609911, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.