Results of a Poll Show Serious Problems in Maternity Leave and Working Place

Recent investigations point out that the problem of discrimination at work still exists for many women who get pregnant and decide to take maternity leave.

OnePoll organized a survey among 1,000 women which survey showed that most of them had faced discrimination in one way or another because of their maternity leave.

One in seven said that the maternity leave had cost them their working place and 2 in 5 of the asked women answered that after the end of their maternity leave their working hours were so cut that they could not work there anymore.

Another huge problem these women shared was that their employers did not support them in any way in order to return to their jobs. About a third of the asked said that in their opinion they were no more suitable for their previous working places and did not feel as they fitted there.

Employment law forbids discrimination against employee over maternity or paternity leave.

In spite of this, due to the hold poll only one in ten women ventured to speak to their employer’s HR department over suspected maternity discrimination.

The law firm Slater & Gordon commissioned the research and the final comment of their lawyer was that the results were “sad and shocking”.

“The big issue is that women are somehow seen as being less committed to their employers because they are now mothers,” said Ms Mangwana. “Many companies are settling out of court because they don’t want to be seen to be treating pregnant women or new mothers like this.

“But the awful thing is that I see the same major companies again and again and again, writing out these cheques – accompanied, of course, with a confidentiality clause.”

In a statement the Rosalind Bragg, from campaign group Maternity Action, announced that the number of pregnancy discrimination demands has doubled every year for the past three years.

In his opinion only a small percent of the women know their rights so they usually prefer not to spend time and energy to take any legal action against their employers but take care after their children.

The Legal Stop provides a full set of Maternity Leave documents:

Maternity Leave documents – Employer Pack

Maternity Leave documents – Employee Pack

Maternity Leave Policy

Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the Legal Sector

It was recently stated by the Law Society that about every one out of six solicitors has been bullied in a way in the workplace. The main exploratory findings of the society’s 2012 omnibus report suggest that about 17% of solicitors have been harassed at work. The survey reveals a whole tale of cases of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination. Highest percentage has been reported by those working in government (25%) and those working in commerce and industry (23%). Complains in the private practice are said to be around 16%. More than 1,600 individuals have participated in the survey and about 6% of those people have said that they have experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Another 10% have reported that they have been discriminated. This 10% represents 168 people who have experienced any kind of discrimination white at work. According to the survey, about 64% or nearly two thirds have attributed this to their sex, about 20% attributed it to their ethnic origin, and 19% to their social class and status. Other issues mentioned as reasons for discrimination included things such as religion, pregnancy, any kind of disability and sexual orientation.

The report also surveyed people based on the level of stress in the workplace. Of those 1,600 people, only 5% have reported that they do not experience any stress at work or feel that the environment is hostile and negative. As much as 65% have reported that that do experience either moderate or severe levels of stress. Solicitors who experience extreme stress at work place have been reported to account for only 4%. Last but not least, the survey also revealed that over the past twelve months only about 2% of solicitors have taken time off because of stress.

All the findings from the survey have been presented to the Society’s membership. The report along with the analysis made will serve as a basis for the Society’s membership board to develop a strategy and promote the solicitors’ wellbeing in the workplace. Kate Walmsley, the Society’s corporate responsibility specialist, has written a paper to the members of the board expressing a concern on the preliminary findings of the survey. She stated that the tales of harassment, bullying and also discrimination are too high and actions need to be taken. Ms. Walmsley said that even though rates were not as high as in other sectors, steps have to be made in order to improve the working environment of the solicitors. A strategy needs to be made and to address the question of issues such as discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment. This, as stated by the CSR specialist, is of tremendous importance not only to the people working in the legal sector, but also for the need to reduce any financial and reputational costs both to the profession and to the Law Society as a whole.

In conclusion, don`t foreget to download our Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy. Protect you and your colleagues!