Pregnancy and maternity are the third reason for discrimination mentioned by women (7%). To combat this sad record, the rights defender Claire Hédon publishes this Monday 7 March a “guide on pregnancy discrimination in the private sector”†
“We still make too many decisions where women are not hired because they are pregnant, who cannot find their jobs when they come back from maternity leave or whose probationary period is terminated because they are pregnant. † Rights defender Claire Hédon launched the warning on Monday, January 7, on the occasion of the publication of the 2021 results of the Professional Equality Index. “It is staggering and illegal. Discrimination is significant.adds the one that then has a . presents “legal guide to discrimination due to pregnancy in private employment”†
Her goals? To supply “legal tools for victims”† “supporting lawyers in identifying and tackling discrimination on the basis of pregnancy” and finally “to avoid such discrimination” with companies, we can read on the Defender of Rights website. A necessary reminder to end inequalities between women and men in the labor market.
Pregnancy-related discrimination can already start before a (potential) pregnancy. It is therefore important to remember that in France, it is prohibited to discriminate against a person under the pretext that he or she is of childbearing age. Likewise, if a person has started a process of assisted reproduction, the law protects him.
So in his guide we can read that the “Defender of Rights commented on the situation of an intern who completed an immersion internship within a company, who saw her internship interrupted when she informed her employer that she was taking a PMA course involving egg donation, and was refused future education that led to potential employment. †
The survey shows that “the employer has effectively refused the training leading to a job because of this maternity project, and that it is not based on a lack of motivation or professional skills on the part of Sabrina”, we can read on the site of the governing body.
During the pregnancy
Here too, the law protects every employee during her pregnancy. That is why prohibited to discriminate in the workplace and during maternity leave a person due to pregnancy.
The defender of rights thus recalls that:
- The dismissal or termination of the probationary period of an employee who has declared her pregnancy is null and void, except for gross negligence or inability to maintain the employment contract.
- The dismissal is null and void if the employee informs her employer that she is pregnant within 15 days of receipt of the letter of dismissal by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
- The dismissal of a pregnant employee is null and void during her maternity leave and during the leave taken immediately afterwards, even in the event of gross negligence or inability to maintain the employment contract.
However, the guide states that it is the employee’s responsibility to notify her employer in writing of her pregnancy status. For example, by registered post AR or the sending of a medical certificate stating the state of the pregnancy.
When employees return to work after maternity leave, they are still protected by French law. The employer cannot terminate an employment contract with a person returning from maternity leave during:
- 10 weeks after the end of maternity leave or paid leave taken immediately afterwards for private sector employees.
- 4 weeks for civil servants.
- 8 weeks for liberal professions.
With regard to the return to work, the employee must be able to return to her position with priority. If this is not possible, the company must offer him a similar job with at least equivalent remuneration. If pay increases have been granted to employees during her absence, the company should also apply them to the employee’s salary in exchange for her maternity leave (if not previously).
In order to combat discrimination based on an employee’s pregnancy status (refusal to hire, dismiss, etc.), French law provides for sanctions punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros†
Finally, the rights defender reminds those who may be victims of discrimination of the solutions available to them:
- Contact the rights defender.
- Refer to the labor court, up to 5 years after the discrimination.
- File a complaint up to 6 years after the discrimination.
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