Women discriminated against in job interviews

21 April 2008
Women face potential discrimination in job interviews because over 50% bosses weigh up their chances of pregnancy when considering them for a role. A survey by the Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS) found that over 50% of bosses take a female candidate’s potential for pregnancy into account before employing them. If they considered that a woman was likely to get pregnant within the first six months of employment, 75% say they would not offer her the position. Although asking a candidate whether they have plans for a family during an interview is banned under sex discrimination laws, the survey found interviewers still weigh up a candidate’s chance of getting pregnant and take this into account when considering who to offer a role to. Of the 1,100 interviewed by ELAS, 52% admitted looking at a candidate’s age and marital status to decide whether they are likely to get pregnant in the near future. While this puts some women at a disadvantage when it comes to job interviews, pregnant candidates are likely to find it even harder to secure a job. Just 5% of those surveyed said they would offer a position to someone already pregnant. But Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at ELAS, says: “For many bosses it is down to the bottom line – a pregnant member of staff will cost money. However, a visit to a tribunal can be even more costly.”

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