British employers are ‘living in the dark ages’ and have worrying attitudes towards unlawful behaviour when it comes to recruiting women, a new survey has claimed.
Around a third of private sector employers agree that it is reasonable to ask women about their plans to have children in the future during recruitment, according to statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Meanwhile, six in 10 employers agree that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process and almost half claim it is reasonable to ask female interviewees if they have young children.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “It is a depressing reality that, when it comes to the rights of pregnant woman 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 that women routinely get asked questions around family planning in interviews. It’s clear that many employers need more support to better understand the basics of discrimination law and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers."
The survey also found that, when it comes to maternity discrimination in the workplace, 44 per cent of employers agree that women should work for an organisation for at least a year before deciding to have children.
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.”