EHRC to investigate maternity discrimination

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is to undertake a comprehensive research project into the scale of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

The EHRC has launched the project due to anecdotal evidence that suggests some pregnant women experience discrimination while on maternity leave or on their return to work. However, the most recent data goes back to 2005.

The project aims to investigate employers’ practices towards employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave and these employee’s experiences in the workplace, to provide evidence on the extent, causes and effects of pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

The information will enable the commission and the government to shape the most appropriate response.

Mark Hammond, chief executive of the EHRC, said: “It is very concerning that in 2013 a number of women are still being disadvantaged in the workplace just because they are pregnant. That would be unlawful discrimination and needs to be tackled.

“We will look at existing research, gather new evidence and carry out our expert analysis to establish the extent of the problem and advise on how best it can to be addressed.”