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One in Two Australian Mothers Discriminated Against at Workplace - Report

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Australian women and men are being discriminated at their workplaces due to pregnancy and parental obligations, Australia’s Human Rights Commission said Friday.

MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – Australian women and men are being discriminated at their workplaces due to pregnancy and parental obligations, Australia’s Human Rights Commission said Friday.

“One in two [49 percent] mothers reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work. What’s more, it [the survey] also revealed that over a quarter [27 percent] of the fathers and partners surveyed reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace related to parental leave and return to work as well,” the commission said in a report.

One woman surveyed said she was told by her boss to consider abortion, while another described her working during pregnancy the worst experience in her life, as she was constantly feeling anxious and faced unfair treatment.

Some women reported that on returning to work they found out their salaries were reduced, that they did not receive a pay increment or bonus in line with their colleagues or that their working conditions had been changed without their knowledge.

Women also reported a lack of support during parental leave.

The review shows that it was also the experience of some men in Australia to be discriminated in connection to their family obligations.

One man reported that his boss laughed when he requested a parental leave, saying it was a woman’s duty to take care of children.

Another shocking finding in the report is that the unfair and offensive treatment of women came from female colleagues or bosses who also had children.

The Reference Group, led by sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, provided a final report with a wide range of recommendations to raise awareness about workplace rights among both employers and employees.

“While there are a few areas where the laws can be strengthened, our recommendations are directed towards a much better implementation of legal obligations through greater provision of information about employee rights and employer obligations. This is an approach intended to help plug the gap that allows this discrimination to take place – the gap between the legal framework and the implementation of the law,” Broderick said.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission website, the Australian government responded to the findings of the report by funding the commission $150,000 “to develop resources for employers on how to best manage and support working parents through pregnancy, parental leave, and on return to work.”

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