NI: Women in Northern Ireland facing penalties for pregnancy

NI: Women in Northern Ireland facing penalties for pregnancy

Women are being penalised for being pregnant in workplaces throughout Northern Ireland, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) has said.

The ECNI recently helped three women settle cases against their employers for £3,000, £4,500, and £8,000.

As part of the settlement terms each of the companies agreed to meet with the Equality Commission to review their policies, practices and procedures on equality of opportunity.

Eileen Lavery, ECNI head of advice, compliance and legal, said: “Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace has remained a persistent problem - the most common cause of complaint on the grounds of gender made to the Equality Commission is still from women who feel they have been treated unfairly either when they became pregnant or on their return to work after maternity leave.”

Earlier, a prominent employment rights lawyer in Ireland said pregnancy-related dismissals reached “epidemic levels” in the south.

Richard Grogan said some Irish employers “regard pregnant females as something to be got rid of as quickly as possible”.

An investigation into the employment experiences of women in Northern Ireland during pregnancy, maternity leave and their return to work is due to be published by the ECNI in November 2016.

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