Pregnancy tops discrimination list in Vic

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Pregnancy tops discrimination list in Vic

Five of the top 10 discrimination payouts in Victoria last financial year were on the grounds of pregnancy or parental status, the latest figures show.

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Five of the top 10 discrimination payouts in Victoria last financial year were on the grounds of pregnancy or parental status, the latest figures show.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) figures show employers were forced to hand out nearly $500,000 to parents penalised for trying to juggle work and family responsibilities.

Demoted after maternity leave

Among the cases were a woman demoted when she returned from maternity leave, and a mother sacked for caring for her sick kids.

The biggest payout was to a woman awarded $18,000 after her job was downgraded while she was on maternity leave.

Total payouts of $455,923

Discrimination complaints resolved by the commission resulted in total payouts of $455,923.

VEOHR Commissioner, Helen Szoke, said the figures showed a worrying trend.

'Previous years' figures have shown disability, race and sex discrimination and sexual harassment complaints account for most of the top 10 agreed financial settlements, so this is a new trend we're seeing,' Dr Szoke said. 'It's a worrying indication that with all the rhetoric of work-life balance and all the ads we see about valuing diversity, we've still got a long way to go.

'But discrimination is bad for business - it's bad for the bottom line and it's bad for the culture of business.'

'Keep the baby, lose the job', mum told

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Herald Sun reports a case of a woman, Rebecca Besant, who claims she was sacked by her former employer for being pregnant.

Besant said she was fired two days after telling her restaurant boss that she was six weeks pregnant.

'They said it was a choice of terminating my baby and keeping my job, or keeping the baby and losing my job,' she said.

'OHS issue'

Besant, 25, who worked part-time as a dishwasher, said she was told it was an OHS issue.

'But I worked in a factory during my last pregnancy, so I knew what my body could and couldn't handle,' she said. 'I don't see why a pregnant woman should be discriminated against in the workplace.'

Related

Pregnant worker victimised, awarded $9,000 

Maternity wear co pays up for sacking pregnant worker 

Pregnant workers still vulnerable despite maternity leave

 

 

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