Give new and expectant mothers six months to pursue discrimination claims.
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When I was 4 months pregnant I was sacked by my employer. I found myself pregnant and unemployed with a mortgage to pay. I was terrified and heartbroken.
At the same time I attended a routine hospital appointment and discovered I was having a high risk pregnancy. My baby could be born prematurely resulting in potentially life threatening problems. Stress could potentially trigger early labour.
The law protects pregnant women and new mums from discrimination, but due to the 3 month time limit for starting legal proceedings against a discriminatory employer I couldn’t wait until I had given birth before I started this incredibly stressful process. This law forced me to make a decision between justice and the health of my baby.
That’s why, I’m calling to extend the time limit to begin a tribunal claim to six months - so that pregnant women can start legal proceedings after they give birth, and not forced to do so before.
The number of mums who lose their jobs for getting pregnant has almost doubled in 10 years. Far from improving, the situation has drastically deteriorated and significant numbers of women are being affected. Most women are unable to access justice.
3 months simply isn't long enough. For many pregnant women and new mums, they already have enough on their plate and some don’t even realise they are being pushed out until it is too late. For those that realise they are the victims of discrimination, the idea of bringing a case at a time when they are vulnerable and exhausted is just too overwhelming.
Finally, like me, many women experience health issues during pregnancy which means they simply can't bring a case within three months without putting themselves and their unborn children at risk.
The Government is ignoring this issue. They recently said there is no evidence that the 3 month time limit reduces a mother’s access to justice. Help us make them listen by signing this petition so we can ask that the time limit be extended to 6 months for new and expectant mothers.
As many as 54,000 women a year lose their jobs for getting pregnant, yet less than 1% of victims use the law to protect themselves. Pregnant women and new mums are enduring appalling treatment in the workplace and we need to find ways to protect them better.
Please sign and share. Thank you.
Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant then Screwed
Sam Hall, Tofunmi Agbaniyaka, Mina Hadi and Helen Bates
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