'It's discrimination' - you have your say on bosses questioning women over plans for children

As a study shows that some employers think it's acceptable to question women about their plans to have children during an interview, we asked you what you thought.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 20 February, 2018, 11:40
We asked you if employers should be able to ask women about their plans for having children.

More than 200 of you voted in an online poll to share your views on the issue - with around two-thirds saying it "wasn't reasonable" for employers to ask female candidates if they plan to have children, or what there plans are.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which carried out the study, said many employers need "more support" to fully understand the basics of discrimination law, as well as the rights of pregnant women and new mothers.

Dozens of you also took to our Facebook pages to have your say on the issue.

Here's what you had to say on social media.

Lee Henry: "No employee should feel responsible for the employer they are working for, if they cant cope with a member of staff having a baby its the employers problem.

"Any organised employer should be prepared for any staff taking any leave necessary."

Samantha Hall: "No, the interview process should fairly select the best person for the job regardless of personal circumstances."

Raymond Hopkins: "The only question any employer should need to have answered is, 'Are you capable of performing your work duties satisfactorily?' Asking intimate and personal questions such as the one portrayed does not really fit in the pattern."

Mary Major: "100% No, it's discrimination. Having a baby is a personal decision and no woman should be asked that question.

"An employer may incur costs training staff but the same goes for male employees too ... they could take paternity leave and while off work look for another job or even come to a decision to become a house husband."

Margaret Crosby: "It shouldn't matter. My employer took out insurance for all female employees, so if there was a happy event, they were covered for the expenses of substitute staff. It's not a huge expense for employers, I'm told."

Lucy Greenwell: "No certainly not. I'm pregnant with my second child and I've worked for the same company for 18 years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

"I started working there was I was 19 and children were the last thing on my mind at that age.

"I've worked hard and paid my taxes so don't feel guilty that I'm taking my maternity leave. It's hard enough being a working mother without facing further discrimination."

Christian Nørby Friis Sørensen: "Of course it's reasonable for the employer to want to know. That doesn't change the fact that it's unfair and that they shouldn't ask about it."

Rachel Elizabeth Marshall: "As long as men get asked too. They might decide to take paternity leave at some point after all."

Kelly Stobbart: "Not really it is personal. You are not having a child with said person who is asking. It’s also very insensitive to women who can’t have children."

Anne Elphinstone: "I was asked that question way back in 1964!"

David Barber: "An employer has to be able to organise his workforce and if a woman is about to land them with a year off after just getting into their role a new employee has to be found and trained to do the job.

"If that new employee happens to be a woman, who is also about to start a family, the whole thing is ongoing.

"You want to start a family but you don't want anybody to know you're starting a family? what's all that about then? Not really fair on the employer is it?"

Lianne Douglas: "Has nothing to do with them & is illegal

"Also have they never considered that pregnancy can't be predicted - accidents can happen & at the other end of the scale you could be trying for ages then get pregnant so really is ridiculous to ask anyway!"

Margaret Davies: "It puts women at a disadvantage straight away as obviously men wont ever have this problem."