Maternity campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed is today launching a new free tribunal mentoring service for women enduring maternity related discrimination.
The latest report into maternity related discrimination from the Equality and Human Rights Commissions shows that less than 1 per cent of women who are victims go on to take their case to tribunal.
Insight from women who have shared their stories on the Pregnant Then Screwed site indicate that the introduction of tribunal fees has contributed to decrease in the number of cases being taken forward.
Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said: “Taking on the might of an employer’s legal and HR resources when you’re pregnant or a new mother can be a terrifying prospect. We often hear from women who feel frightened or intimidated, alone and vulnerable so we have launched the tribunal mentoring scheme to provide support and solace during this stressful time.
We hope the friendship and mentoring of our ‘buddies’ will give women the strength they will need to persist with a Tribunal so they can exercise their right to justice.
“This new service, in combination with the free legal advice line we launched in March exist to give women the tools and support they need to challenge discriminatory behaviour. We want fair and just treatment for mothers in the workplace and by mobilising our community we believe we can take control back.”
A report from ACAS also revealed that 63 per cent of claimants go through a tribunal without any representation and many decide not to proceed due to stress. For many women, facing the prospect of lengthy court proceedings combined with increased financial burden and the emotional and physical impact of juggling motherhood with work is incredibly daunting.
Pregnant Then Screwed believes that being able to share their experience with another woman who has been through a similar situation will be incredibly comforting for victims.
The new service will pair up women who are currently facing harassment or discrimination with other women who have already gone through the tribunal process. They can provide advice and mentoring on the practical, financial and legal aspects as well as a sounding board during the stressful process.
The programme is free but subject to availability and women who need support or women who would like to volunteer as a mentor are invited to email.