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Discrimination question

(9 Posts)
Torquay001 Wed 02-Nov-16 18:14:34

A friend asked me my opinion on this but as I am self-employed and no nothing of employment law I thought I would ask Mumsnetters.

He's recently become manager of an optician's and the boss/owner asked him to sit in with interviews for a new receptionist. The boss told him that out of the five women sitting waiting to be interviewed only the eldest-looking one was eligible and the others were "just for going through the motions". He then said that he has never and would never employ any woman of childbearing age because they are unreliable, going sick when the kids are sick, and/or wanting maternity leave which meant he had to faff about getting cover and of course extra expense. He also refuses to entertain any idea of a female optician, for the same reason. He lets them come for interview but all the ones who have so far have looked to be of childbearing age. He would employ one if she was over about 50.

The company which the boss owns comprises three opticians shops, each one employing a male optician, a (female) receptionist, all of whom are post-menopausal, and a male technician who makes the glasses. So a total of nine employees.

My friend supports women's rights and was appalled. He cannot push the boss too much on it, for his own job would be at risk, but he wondered if there is any way he could get the firm looked into by some outside body or something. Or indeed, does it even matter, as there are only nine employees, that he is discriminating in this way?

Over to you.

rachael1981lilysmum Wed 02-Nov-16 19:16:10

I would also like to know the same answer as youself, I am sure there must be some kind of agency, in which protect womens rights, which people could anonymously report companies to in these situataions.

I recently applied for many jobs, one of which was through a recruitment agency who suggest they are 'independent, privately owned recruitment agency with a fresh and HONEST approach to recruitment.

Getting to know both clients and candidates and what each person is looking for so we can successfully place people in the RIGHT JOBS to give full job satisfaction and get the client the staff they really need'.

Now my qualifications and experince ticked every single box, on the application; however I recieved a very rude and abrupt email 'Your CV is vastly out of date' STRANGE several employers have asked me for interview in the same field and not mentioned, the six month gap a few years ago, and infact it is not castly out dated as is goes upto October 2016, as I ensured to specify in my response. I was not prepared to mention I had a baby a few years ago, as this is not relavent to my application; however I did mention personal circumstances and family commitments; the response (again rude and abrupt) ' we shall not be taking your application further', not one explenation, I mean if someone who meets all the requirements cant get there application processed, then who can? I am guessing those without child!.

So I have the skills and experience, yes they have clearly realised a baby has appeared a few years ago, and suddenly though I have everything the employer is requesting, the recruitment agency is discriminating due to my being a parent.

Should recruitment agencies be allowed to ask about gaps in CV's? surely they should send the application that meets all requirements to the employer, then let them decide. This is my first time back to work, following having a baby, I have heard that employers find various ways of discriminating but surely there is a legal body to protect against this discrimination? would be grateful of any advice.

HermioneWeasley Wed 02-Nov-16 19:39:05

There isn't really an external body. If you get a lot of complaints or lose some high profile employment tribunals, the Equality and Human Rights Commission might come and check you out, but such a small firm would unlikely to ever be on their radar.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Wed 02-Nov-16 19:42:49

It's not uncommon, unfortunately, and it really sucks. It's one of the reasons I'm in favour of men being able to share parental leave after a baby arrives as there would be less incentive to do this if men were just as likely to go off.

Unthoughtknown Wed 02-Nov-16 19:55:48

HR here. Its not an unusual thing unfortunately. I have had line managers I have been advising say similar things while I was pregnant (and they didn't get that this was tactless). The way I always challenge it is this; now that shared parental leave is open to both parents and flexible working requests can be made by anyone, it really is pointless to discriminate. He could hire a man whose spouse is a teacher or HCP so he has to take the time off for DC sickness, likewise, the 50 year old lady could have caring responsibilities for grandchildren/elderly parents etc etc. The thing that really grips me though, is that in purely monetary terms, someone on maternity leave doesn't cost that much, you claim most of the money back from HMRC.

Unthoughtknown Wed 02-Nov-16 19:57:03

rachael1981lilysmum you could report the company to the REC (the advisory body for recruitment agents)

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Wed 02-Nov-16 20:29:27

Thats probably the answer for your friend OP- to point out what Unthoughtknown has said and suggest that the best thing to do because of that would be to just appoint the best applicant hmm Actually when you think about it someone in their 50s is much more likely to have elderly parents to care for too, so could be just as 'difficult'.

EBearhug Thu 03-Nov-16 08:27:40

Should recruitment agencies be allowed to ask about gaps in CV's?

They can ask - and they may need to confirm the gap isn't because you were in prison rather than maternity or just a period of unemployment.

rachael1981lilysmum Thu 03-Nov-16 09:21:35

Thank you, you all make some good points and suggestions

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