LONDON: Bosses in Britain were accused on Monday of living in the dark ages with worrying attitudes to the recruitment of pregnant women.
New statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission show that many businesses' attitudes are decades behind the law, with worrying attitudes towards unlawful behavior when it comes to recruiting women.
A survey of 1,106 senior decision makers in business found 36 percent of private sector employers agree that it is reasonable to ask women about their plans to have children in the future during recruitment.
The statistics also reveal six in 10 employers agree that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process, and almost half of employers agree it is reasonable to ask women if they have young children during the recruitment process.
The survey was commissioned to understand managers' attitudes around pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
The survey also found that, when it comes to maternity discrimination in the workplace, 44 percent of employers agree that women should work for an organization for at least a year before deciding to have children.
Women continue to face work, family conflict
"What's more, the same number agrees that women, who have had more than one pregnancy while in the same job, can be a 'burden' to their team," said the report.
Financially, four in 10 employers agreed that pregnancy in the workplace puts "an unnecessary cost burden" on the workplace.
Half of employers say there is sometimes resentment among employees towards women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.
The commission has called on employers to eliminate pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.
The commission's CEO Rebecca Hilsenrath 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."
The report cites the experience of Sarah, a mother of two young children who was made redundant during maternity leave for her first child.
Sarah explained: "It's sad to think that things like this are still happening. I feel angry that you can be a mother with young children and, unless you're in a job that protects you, your whole world can come tumbling down."
Commenting on the report 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."
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