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Pregnancy discrimination

(8 Posts)
Lehman Wed 22-May-13 12:42:56


A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a recruiter who was keen to put me forward for a job, I sent my cv and she was very positive about the role etc. I sent her a follow- up email to let her know I was pregnant (it's my second pregnancy and im showing early but I wouldn't want to make a secret of the fact anyway).

The recruiter thanked me for my "honesty" then said that this "might have an effect" . I got the stong impression I wasn't going to be put forward for the role because i was pregnant. As it turned out I was offered a job by my old firm so I emailed the recruiter back and explained this. She said it was "probably best under the circumstances and would be in touch in about a years time to catch up".

I don't think I'm being paranoid? I'm aware that employers can't discriminate but what about recruiters? I didn't really want the job anyway but should I say/ do nothing? The irony is that this was a legal recruiter as I'm a lawyer so you would think she would at least pretend that my pregnancy would not be an issue.

Grateful for thought, should I do anything about it?

flowery Wed 22-May-13 13:12:17

Not something you should pursue legally really, but I don't think you should let it go earlier.

Recruiters are not allowed to discriminate because of your pregnancy, just as employers are not, so she was in the wrong to consider that relevant.

I would suggest an email thanking them for their time and efforts on your behalf, but expressing some concern that [name] felt your pregnancy was relevant and though it might have an effect on decisions made by either [name of recruitment firm] or by the end employer. Say you are sure they are fully aware that treating someone less favourably because of pregnancy is illegal discrimination under the Equality Act, however you would be concerned that such comments made to candidates in the future may give the impression that they are intending to breach the Act and take pregnancy into account when deciding whether to put someone forward for a role. Giving such an impression would leave them vulnerable to legal action, so they may want to rethink their approach next time.

That's what I'd do, on the basis that you are happy with your own end result.

flowery Wed 22-May-13 13:12:34

either not earlier.

fedupwithdeployment Wed 22-May-13 13:16:18

Agree with Flowery! And i used to be in house counsel for a recruitment agency. We (I) made it very clear that such actions were totally inapprpriate.

Lehman Wed 22-May-13 14:09:36


Thanks both. I'm glad you don't think I'm being paranoid!

It may sound very cowardly but I don't really want to start sending indignant emails to her quoting statute as I'll no doubt get sucked in to a big debate, she will involve colleagues and there will be denials etc etc. Plus my name will be mud with that firm and word spreads in my legal specialism.

I was wondering if recruiters had some sort of regulatory body or something or whether I should mention it to someone who works for the company she was recruiting for they are a major bank so I would hope they would take a dim view.

flowery Wed 22-May-13 14:38:01

Well you could complain to their client, or you could complain to the REC if they are a member, but surely they would react worse to either of those than they would to an email from you without involving an external third party?

Lehman Wed 22-May-13 14:52:38

My hope in involving a third party would be to keep my name out of it, I'm hoping I could mention it in confidence as I know people who work there. Possibly there is no way to do anything about it the recruiter is obviously blissfully unaware there is any issue there and it says she's been recruiting for 10 years on their website.

Thanks for your help

flowery Wed 22-May-13 14:58:51

Well, I think it's going to be very difficult to do anything about it if you want them not to know you had anything to do with it tbh. I'm not sure a complaint to the REC or to their client without the recruiter realising it was you who complained is realistic.

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