An article in the Telegraph this morning had a usually sedate Trixy jumping around the office in outrage....
Nothing for it, but to vent anger and frustration here...
Thousands of working mothers who fall behind in the queue for promotion because they have taken maternity leave will be able to sue their employer for sex discrimination, a High Court ruled yesterday.
Why? They have taken time off work. Why should they be able to gain a promotion with less working hours and less experience than someone who hasn't taken a career break to have children?
It said that the time a woman takes on maternity leave - which can be up to a year from next month - must count as continuous service and be included where it affects her promotion. She is also entitled to be fully consulted about any changes to her job while she is looking after her baby.
But they haven't been continually working! They haven't provided continuous service unlike, say, a woman who has not taken a break to have a child, and carried on going to work, gaining experience and knowledge and increasing their human capital. How is that fair? Far from stopping discrimination, this ruling allows them to openly discriminate against people who play by the rules.
In addition, the court ruled that a woman harassed by a customer can take legal action against her employer for failing to protect her.
Well, that's going to make people really keen to employ women, eh? In one move, this judge has made women employees a liability.
Yesterday's ruling follows a case brought by the Equal Opportunities Commission that argued that ministers had failed to apply the European Equal Treatment Directive properly. The directive is the piece of legislation that implements sex discrimination law in Britain. Mr Justice Burton agreed that women in Britain did not enjoy proper protection.
Another supid directive from the EU which will hurt those it claims it wants to help? Who would have thought it?
He has told Alistair Darling, the Trade Secretary, that he has until March 16 to inform the EOC and the court how the Government plans to remedy the situation.
What can they actually do? EU law is above UK law. Basically, our impotent government have to do what they are told. Great.
stupid bitchthe chairman of the EOC, said the court decision was a triumph for vulnerable women.
"It should also come as good news for employers, who now have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities and won't find themselves tied up in expensive and time-consuming cases seeking clarification of regulations that are incompatible with European legislation," she added.
Jenny Watson clearly couldn't run a bath. Yes, sweetie, these employers know exactly where they stand. They know if they employ someone who is a bit pathetic and takes a "hello dearie" as some kind of sexual innuendo, they can end up getting taken to court. As for saving them time and money, don't make me laugh. I am sure the only people who like the EU are compliance officers, because companies need more and more of those to deal with these stupid pieces of legislation.
Pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment affect thousands of women each year. A recent EOC investigation found that almost half of pregnant working women experience some disadvantage in the workplace as a result of pregnancy or maternity leave.
I suspect the companies also find disadvantage in a woman going off to have a child. After all, they have to pay the woman for not being at work, full time for three months and half pay for the next three months, and at the same time they have to employ someone else to do her job, who will need training up, meaning that there is more pressure on the other members of staff. And the woman on leave does not even have to tell the company whether or not she is coming back to work, but they have to keep their job open for her. Yes, I would say that was rather inconvenient.
Having children is a priviledge, not a right. And it's also a lifestyle choice. If you want children and a career, then there are sacrafices which need to be made. And one of those is that if you take 2 years off work, why the bloody hell should you expect to be in a position when you return as if you hadn't?
Sexual harassment cases comprise almost a quarter of all successful sex discrimination employment tribunal claims and sexual harassment remains one of the top five reasons for calls to the EOC's helpline. The High Court said the current definition of harassment was too narrow and failed to ensure that women at work were not subjected to any "unwanted conduct related to their sex which violates their dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment".
I'm sure there are plenty of cases of geniune sexual harrassment, but there shouldn't be any need for regulation on this. A sensible boss or HR department should be able to sort this out. These rules will just make 'no-win, no-fee' lawyers much richer, waste time and be an incentive for people who want everything handed to them on a plate, like a nice big cheque for not having to work.
Harassment by clients is a particular problem in the hotel and restaurant sector, which employs 670,000 women.
I was a barmaid for many years when I was a student, and a waitress before that. The locals down the pub used to consider it sport when some drunk tit made a comment at my friend or myself, as they knew we would eat them alive and tease them mercilessly. If you can't cope with banter, then don't be a barmaid. But then if you can't cope with banter, there's not much hope for you, really.
It also raises an important point about the EOC and how ill thought out their attacks are. 670,000 women is a lot of people. According to the ONS, in 2006 21.4% of women worked in the hotel and restaurant industry. It's an industry which attracts women workers, as there are more options for part time and shift work which means that women can have a family and still work. What this ruling will do is make women less attractive to employers since they will have to be continually worrying if the woman is the kind of woman who will be offended by some harmless remark and go running to some ambulance chaser of a lawyer.
Mr Justice Burton agreed that a woman should be protected against harassment if her boss knew of such conduct but failed to take any steps to prevent it. Women's rights during maternity leave were also unclear, he said.
I'm sure there are very few bosses who wouldn't take action. When I've been in a difficult situation (one of the regulars decided he loved me, it all got a bit awkward) I told the boss who had a quiet word, and it all sorted itself out.
Susan Anderson, the CBI director of human resources policy, said: "We will have to look at the details of this judgment carefully and fully consider its implications. "There should be zero tolerance of bullying and harassment within the workplace, but when it comes from customers or members of the public it can be difficult for employers to manage."
Bit of an understatement there, but I don't envy that Ms Anderson one bit...
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, which has responsibility for policy on equality issues, said the Government remained committed to ending discrimination against women.Unfortunately, the EOC and the EU aren't. They are very keen to make it as difficult as possible for women to get jobs, it seems.
"This is a case about the technical interpretation of regulations and the requirements of EU law and we will be studying the ruling carefully before deciding on the appropriate way forward. "We have delivered the largest ever package of practical support for women in the workplace, including a doubling in paid maternity leave and maternity pay since 1997."
And still it wasn't enough! I think these well-meaning but utterly useless women and men who think that women are so pathetic they can't get and hold down a job without some stupid law to help them really should just fuck off. No, really. Who the hell do you think you are, trying to make it more difficult for women like me to get a job? And when we do have a job, you think we need some regulation to make sure we don't fall down in a pool of tears everytime we get our period and someone asks us to put some more paper in the printer. And then you make us REALLY ANGRY when our female colleagues who go on maternity leave are still considered to be working for the company and so they get time off work whilst you've been working hard in your job, gaining experience, learning new skills, knowing what the latest trends and ideas are in the field you're working in, but that's not enough for you to get a promotion. Oh no! You can't overlook the woman WHO HASN'T BEEN IN WORK THROUGH HER OWN CHOICE!
Just who are these people, and where the hell did they put their brains, cos they sure as hell aren't in their heads....