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MOST bosses still believe it’s acceptable to ask women if they plan to have children during a job interview, according to new research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Three in five recruiters and employers agree women should disclose whether they are pregnant during hiring.
And almost half of the 1,100 surveyed thought it was it was OK to quiz prospective female staff as to whether they had young children.
The EHRC argued that its study shows many employers do not understand basic discrimination law around pregnancy and motherhood.
EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “It is a depressing reality that, when it comes 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 women routinely get asked questions around family planning in interviews.”
Sarah, a mother of two young children who was made redundant during maternity leave for her first child, said she feels saddened to learn things like this are still happening.
She argued that “your whole world can come tumbling down” if employers don’t protect pregnant women and those with young children.
The EHRC said its survey revealed antiquated beliefs, including two out of five saying women who have had more than one child while in the same job can be a “burden” to their team.
Half of those questioned said workers sometimes resented women who were pregnant or on maternity leave.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No woman should have to choose between their career and having a family. But thousands are being forced from their job every year.
“Pregnancy discrimination scars lives and careers. Employers are getting away with breaking the law on an industrial scale.”
Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said employers and the economy were both missing out on the talents of young women.
“Today’s findings show many employers, given half a chance, would run roughshod over women’s rights.
“It’s no wonder women are held back in the workplace when people have such outdated, discriminatory views.
“It is employers and our economy that miss out on the talents of young women as a result.
“Young women who want to work are, meanwhile, finding themselves in debt and relying on foodbanks.”
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