More than half of UK bosses assess the chances of a member of staff falling pregnant before employing them, a survey suggests.
And 76% of managers admitted that they would not hire a new recruit if they knew they were going to fall pregnant within six months of starting the job.
And why wouldn’t they? There are two points of view to consider here, that of the woman, and that of the business. The woman is obviously looking out for herself, so why can’t the business?
Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS) said discrimination was prevalent, despite legislation to outlaw it.
There had been a rise in cases over pregnancy and new starters, ELAS added.
About 52% of those surveyed said that they considered the chances of a candidate getting pregnant taking into account age and whether they have just got married.
Legally, a direct question to a potential employee cannot be asked.
That’s helpful. So now women cannot even defend themselves in an interview, the business has to decide without that additional information. Naturally, they will err on the side of caution, because getting it wrong could get very expensive as well as disruptive. By the way, if women are so strong and empowered, why do they need additional legislation to ‘protect’ them? I’m sure they can handle it on their own?
Other findings included only 5% employing someone knowing they were pregnant with 86% saying they would feel “cheated” if someone announced their pregnancy weeks after joining a firm.
And almost seven in ten bosses want would like more powers to ask candidates whether they had plans for a family.
Why are businesses asking for powers from government about employing people in their business? Hardly freedom is it?
Head of consultancy at ELAS, Peter Mooney said that bosses would still shy away from employing a candidate who was pregnant.
“It is a very dangerous area and you simply cannot ask the question about plans for a family in an interview. For many bosses it is down to the bottom line – a pregnant member of staff will cost money. However a visit to a tribunal can be even more costly.”
Great. So a business either takes a risk with employing a woman, or takes a risk with not employing her. Also, how can a woman sue a business using this legislation if the business can’t know about her family plans because it is illegal for them to ask?
“The fact that almost 8 in 10 of those we surveyed would not employ someone if they knew they were going to fall pregnant within six months shows that discrimination is bound to happen if it is obvious that a candidate is expecting a baby.”
It is discrimination. The bosses are discriminating against those who pose a bigger risk to their business. What is wrong with that? It is their business isn’t it? Don’t they have a Right to Choose? Or is the right to make choices reserved for women, and everyone else has to pay for it?