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in brief: pregnancy leading discrimination complaint for Australian workers

Workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is now the most common complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Of the 235 complaints to Fair Work over the last financial year, 28% were from pregnant women experiencing issues with their employer, with a further 11% of complaints from employees claiming unfair outcomes at work due to their family responsibilities.

Seventy-six matters were investigated by the commission, with three resulting in litigation and another three with enforceable orders.

Pregnancy has now overtaken both physical and mental disability by 7% in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2012-13 figures.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president, Ged Kearney told the finding was sadly not a surprise to the organisation.

The ACTU’s own pregnancy discrimination hotline has experienced approximately 500 calls during a period of 24 hours.

The news from Fair Work comes after a recent Australian study found employer’s preferred workers to be ‘unattached males’.

Such figures show business culture is still resistant to employees (particularly women) wanting to start families.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick told the ABC that Australian outdated business culture must adapt to half of Australia’s talent being female.

According to Broderick: ‘Smart employers understand that actually, keeping women attached to the labour market through flexible work arrangements, through parental leave, whether it’s the national scheme or a private scheme, they’re important strategies to ensure that all people can contribute to the productivity and stronger economy of this country.’


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  1. Pingback: pregnant and fired: unpacking workplace pregnancy discrimination | lip magazine

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