Almost one in three UK bosses wouldn’t hire a female applicant in case they become pregnant soon, new research suggests

Nearly one in three UK bosses admit they have or would reject a female job applicant because they suspect she ‘might start a family soon’.

Although this form of employment discrimination is unlawful, 15% anonymously admitted that they had broken sex discrimination laws.

The new research of 501 bosses, carried out by law firm Slater and Gordon, also revealed that one in four bosses has rejected or would reject a woman, simply because she was a single parent.

A further 29% said they have discounted or would discount a woman for a job role because she had young children and 28 % said they have or would because she was recently engaged or married.

Shockingly 37% of bosses admitted they would advertise positions for men only if the law allowed, with 40 % saying they perceived men as being more committed to their jobs.

The research shows the female workforce is still facing significant levels of discrimination when it comes to trying to build a career and become a mother. 

More than a third of senior decision makers said they would rather hire a man to get around the issue of offering maternity leave. Sadly, 14 % of all the bosses surveyed, admitted they do not do anything to support mothers when coming back to work, after being on maternity leave.

Remziye Ozcan, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “A huge shift in attitudes still needs to take place before women feel they are not penalised for wanting both a career and children. Men are never asked to choose between the two. This discrimination also affects women generally, those who don’t plan to have children or already have children as it is about attitudes and stereotypes applied to women generally.”

And 36% said they think ‘women are more of a future investment risk’ than men.

What should I do if I think this is happening to me?

  • Understand your rights and speak to a legal expert as soon as possible
  • Be aware of the time limit ‐ you must bring all legal action within three months of the discrimination
  • Write down the key dates and witnesses of the incident

Watch our video here to find out what to look out for in case of discrimination.


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