10 August 2010
Marlyn Glen has released information showing that less than 1 case in 10 cases brought before Employment Tribunals in Scotland in the years 2005-10 on the grounds of ” suffering a detriment and/or dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity were successful.
Over the five year period , there were a total of 660 of which 51 were successful (and a further 8 successful ones were classified as “default judgement”.)
The 660 cases over 5 years is broadly an average of 2 cases each week being brought before Employment Tribunals, and the 59 successful cases over the same period represents a success rate of less that 1 case in 10.
Ms. Glen, who is the Vice-Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee, said,
” On average, in almost every month in the past 5 years in Scotland , a woman has won a case on the grounds of disadvantage or dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity.
“Treating them unfavourably is both unjustifiable and illegal, but it still continues, even after decades of campaigning and legislation to make Britain a fairer society.
” Pregnant women and new mothers are just as hard-working and dedicated as others are.
“Gender equality in the workplace is important in furthering justice for women.
“Today around 70 per cent of women work, and having to combine employment and pregnancy is an economic necessity for many.”
Six years ago, Ms. Glen highlighted a total of 441 cases alleging unfair dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity that were registered with Employment Tribunals in Scotland in the period 1997-2004.
Of the 441 cases lodged then , 135 were successful, and these included those involving unfair dismissal on the grounds of failure to allow time off for ante-natal care, failure to allow maternity leave or provide written reasons for dismissal to an employee who is pregnant or on maternity leave, failure to pay remuneration whilst suspended from work for health and safety reasons whilst pregnant or on maternity leave.
Ms. Glen said that she would be discussing the figures and their trend with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (formerly known as the Equal Opportunities Commission).
She added, ” No one should be discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity.
” However, research for the Equality & Human Rights Commission has indicated that the most discriminated group of people in the workforce are pregnant women, 30,00 of whom lose their jobs annually, with 30,000 losing their jobs annually because of their pregnancy.
” The research showed also that only a small fraction of women who experience difficulties took proceedings further, mostly because of other pressures such as the pregnancy , and a concern that legal action might affect their standing at work.”