A pregnant pause – when it’s best to think before you speak
A recent survey of employers’ attitudes towards pregnancy and maternity discrimination has thrown up some startling statistics.
The research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed that 59 per cent of employers agreed that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process with almost half (46 per cent) saying they thought it was reasonable to ask women if they have young children when interviewing.
Our Employment Partner Julia Fitzsimmons guides employers through the do’s and don’ts:
This survey was carried out by YouGov and illustrates how far we still have to go in educating people around pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
It also found that 44 per cent of employers agreed that women should work for an organisation for at least a year before deciding to have children and that four in 10 (41 per cent) employers agreed that pregnancy in the workplace puts ‘an unnecessary cost burden’ on business.
Employers must be aware of the current discrimination legislation and not ask questions that could breach the law. This could lead them to an employment tribunal claim that may be costly, both financially and to their reputation.
This is particularly relevant for smaller businesses that don’t have a dedicated HR department or service and carry out their recruitment and selection process themselves.
The easiest way to avoid any discrimination is to have an agreed format for interviews/ and a bank of questions that test the key points for the role you’re interviewing for.
Make sure you ask candidates only questions from the bank and keep a note of the answers. Keeping accurate notes during the interview is very important as candidates can request to see them. So don’t write anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with the candidate seeing.
To help with recruitment and to avoid costly mistakes, we have a toolkit specifically designed to help employers and managers through HR and selection processes such as interviews and employment agreements.
All the documents can be tailored to your business, drafted online and then downloaded. For more information, visit our HR Document Service page.
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