Ruth Mitchell

Family plans could damage prospects

More than three-quarters of bosses would not take on a woman recruit if they knew she would fall pregnant within six months of starting the job, a survey has revealed. Manchester-based Employment Law Advisory Services commissioned the poll of 1,100 company bosses and personnel managers after finding it was dealing with an increase in the number of cases involving pregnancy and new employees.

These included cases where candidates were asked in interview if they had plans for a family (a question prohibited by sex discrimination laws) and jobs withdrawn between interview and starting the post because of a pregnancy.

The UK-wide survey of male and female bosses and personnel managers found that during the selection process just over half will weigh up the chances of a candidate getting pregnant. They will take into account age and whether the interviewee has just got married - although a direct question to a prospective member of staff cannot be asked.

The ELAS survey found 68% would like more rights to quiz candidates about their plans for a family. Only 5% of the bosses have employed someone knowing the candidate is pregnant and 86% said they would feel cheated if someone started a job and announced within weeks they were pregnant.

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