Mothers and fathers face increasing discrimination at work

There has been a rise in the number of both mothers and fathers facing discrimination at work after returning from parental leave.

Figures from a survey of employment lawyers, conducted by Direct Line, reveal that more than 70% said there had been an increase in cases where a woman was sacked while on maternity leave.

A similar number reported that a new mother’s hours were reduced when she returned to work.

More than 80% said there had been an increase in non-disclosure agreements, or “gagging orders” being used by employers following disputes relating to maternity or pregnancy.

Many respondents said there had been an increase in the number of women demoted after returning from maternity leave.

It wasn’t just mothers who were being discriminated against.

There was an increase of almost two thirds (63%) in the number of men being demoted after taking paternity leave.

There was also a 61% increase in the number of claims from men who had been passed over for promotion while on paternity leave.

A spokesman for Direct Line said: “It is concerning that we are seeing an increase in mums and dads being seemingly penalised as a result of spending time with their children.

“Employers and employees have a responsibility to educate themselves about their rights, which could help to reduce the rise of discrimination claims and ensure parents have reasonable expectations.”

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law. 

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