What Employment Law Solicitors Advise on Maternity Rights

Employment law solicitors have borne witness to the massive rise in Employment Tribunal cases over the past twelve months. The number of cases has increased by over 50% and the recession, they say, is partly to blame. Most employment law solicitors point to increased redundancies as employers try whatever they can to cut spending.

Sadly, it has been suggested that women are feeling the effects of redundancy more than men, leading many women to take advice from employment law solicitors relating to ex discrimination. Interestingly, most legal professionals appear to believe they are entirely justified in doing so.

Often, women who have taken advantage of maternity leave and pay, which is their legal right, are the ones to find themselves in the firing line when redundancies become necessary. When the time comes for redundancies to be made, it is very often the case that the criteria used to select who stays and who goes is discriminatory in itself. For example, employers might consider the number of hours worked or how willing an employee is to entertain potential clients in the evening. For women who have children these criteria can be considered to be inherently discriminatory.

Employment law solicitors are keen to make women aware that they are not obliged to tell a potential employer if they are pregnant. Similarly, employers cannot legally ask candidates whether or not they are pregnant and it is illegal to refuse to employ a candidate because they are pregnant. Employment law solicitors also say that it could be considered dangerous for an employer to enquire about a women’s future plans for a family.

Women who believe they have been made redundant as a result of discrimination are advised by employment law solicitors to compile as much evidence as possible. This might include internal memos and e-mails. They also advise asking questions of an employer using the statutory discrimination questionnaire. Employers are obliged to answer within eight weeks and it would reflect very badly on them in an Employment Tribunal if they failed to do so.

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