More than a quarter of women feel discriminated against at work while pregnant or upon returning after maternity leave, according to a study.
Almost 2,000 mothers were questioned by the legal firm, Slater and Gordon. Half of those polled said their employer could do more to support working mums.
A third said it was “impossible” to climb the ladder after giving birth.
It is illegal to sack a woman because she’s pregnant or on maternity leave. England’s employment minister, Jo Swinson, said: “Such action constitutes pregnancy discrimination and could result in an employer in front of an employment tribunal.”
The report also found that 27% of women felt under pressure to return to work earlier than they wanted to and a third felt they were overlooked for a promotion because of their responsibilities at home.
But the majority of women – 70% – don’t make formal complaints: 26% said it was because they did not want to rock the boat.
“It is shocking that so few women speak out when they suffer discrimination,” said Slater and Gordon employment lawyer, Kiran Daurka.
“This report shows that there are still negative perceptions of women with children and this kind of attitude is short-sighted and bad for business.”