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Pregnancy discrimination is alive and well

Pregnancy discrimination is alive and well

It is according to Deakin University senior researcher Cameo Dalley and her team had just won a grant to fund their research project.  

But when Dalley informed a senior woman professor that she was pregnant, the atmosphere changed completely.  

“She made all these comments about, ‘How do you plan to do your job and have a baby?’” Dalley said. 

Within a fortnight, Dalley was told she no longer had a contract offer for the project. And the rationale given? A ‘change of heart’.

A widespread occurrence

“I want to draw attention to this so other people are treated better than I was,” Dalley wrote in an opinion piece

Although official reports of workplace pregnancy discrimination are low, the Australian Human Rights Commission found that those numbers don’t reflect the reality. One in two mothers reported experienced discrimination during pregnancy, parental leave or when returning to work.  

This often includes women finding themselves unemployed, demoted, restructured out of a job, or the victim of adverse action before, during or shortly after a period of unpaid parental leave.  

It can also be difficult to access basic rights under the National Employment Standards such as the right to be transferred to an appropriate safe job during pregnancy or – if no such job exists – the right to be paid no safe job leave

At a workplace like Deakin University where the majority of workers are employed as causals or contractors, pregnant workers may not be in a position to pursue a discrimination complaint.

Source: ACTU 2023

If you are experiencing pregnancy discrimination contact McNally Jones Staff Lawyers today.

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