Pregnant women and new mothers facing workplace discrimination

Pregnant employees and new mothers returning to the workforce are experiencing alarming rates of discrimination, sexism and exclusion, a new study from the  University of South Australia has found.

More than 60 per cent of new mothers returning to work said they experienced a range of workplace discrimination — including being excluded from projects, having their opinions frequently ignored, having their job altered without their knowledge while they were on leave, and forced to undertake unmanageable workloads.

Almost one in five women said they were refused requests to work flexible hours or from home.

Almost 40 per cent of respondents said they received negative or offensive remarks from colleagues for taking time off work to care for a sick child.

Despite legislation requiring workplaces to inform pregnant women of their upcoming leave entitlements, the survey found that a third of women had not received any information about their rights.

In fact, 13 per cent of women said they were treated so badly they decided to leave their jobs.

A similar study was undertaken last year in Victoria by Monash University, which found the common manifestations of pregnancy discrimination to be termination of employment, changes to terms and conditions of employment (such as salary reduction) and changes in employment status – from permanent full-time to casual.

Source: Pregnant women and new mothers facing workplace discrimination

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