Bosses discriminating the pregnant to be publicly shamed

PHOTO: Caro / Scanpix

As announced by bureau of equality commissioner, employers repeatedly discriminating pregnant employees and those with small children will be exposed publicly to shame the problematic practice – still widespread.

Over the first four months of 2014, gender and equality commissioner Mari-Liis Sepper has been submitted 77 applications for explanations and complaints regarding unequal treatment.

The dominant problem being discrimination against those pregnant, the commissioner plans to make public the serial offenders. 

According to Ms Sepper, on occasions she has advised the ladies to have recourse to police, the persecution and revenge by employer for standing up to one’s right having been severe.

«For ladies, the negative attitude and the desire to get rid of then due to pregnancy is mentally very hard on ladies, possibly leading to healthy issues,» said the commissioner. «Even during the period of probation, if the work relationship is actually terminated due to pregnancy – this is forbidden and the office of the commissioner will do its best to protect employee rights.»

According to Ms Sepper, such behaviour is not merely unlawful and prohibited – it’s also uncaring and cruel.

Ms Sepper’s office helps victims have recourse to labour dispute committee or the courts. Offending employers will have to pay restitution up to six months average pay, plus compensation for moral damage. The sums so far paid for moral damage amount to a couple of thousand euros.

Lately, amounts of complains have been on the increase due to the commissioner visiting counties and providing counselling, introducing the options outside of Tallinn.

As bases for unequal treatment, the following reasons feature: sex, being a parent, pregnancy, disability, age, nationality, and race. There are also several complaints of cases with various combinations of issued listed.