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HR Society President, Angela O 'Connor spoke of the continued discrimination against women in the workplace today (8 August) in an interview on BBC Breakfast.
 
“It’s unbelievable that in 2013 we are still seeing many companies treating women differently once they become pregnant or after they return to work after becoming a mother. It’s an incredible waste of talent’  said Angela.
 
The Breakfast time interview was in response to a survey by legal firm Slater and Gorden. It found that more than a quarter of women feel they are discriminated against in the workplace and more than 29% felt they were looked over for a promotion once they returned to work following maternity leave.

Said Angela, “What these companies forget is that they have already invested in these woman in way of time, resources and training. If the woman then is forced out because of her pregnancy or walks away from the company because of discriminatory practices, the company is going to have to pay to recruit someone else to that job and that can be very expensive.
 
“If we look at the economics of the situation the company is losing out on the skills and talent of that woman and it’s not that difficult to get this right. There are many, many examples of organisations and companies getting this right and implementing great practices that really value talent”, suggested Angela.
 
The survey of 1,000 women also found that more that 51% of women felt the attitudes of colleagues and bosses towards them had changed after they announced their pregnancy.
 
Angela continued, “There are those companies that are ignorant of the law and of employment rights but there are also many companies that do have employment polices in place but they are poorly implemented.
 
“Balancing life at home with children and a job is hard, but it can be done and is done by millions of people in the UK today. What companies need to understand is that the law is clear on employers responsibilities and the consequences of not abiding by the law can be very expensive and will almost certainly have a negative impact on a company’s reputation”.
 
Angela concluded, “A smart company will work effectively to womens’ talents and strengths and introduce flexible and remote working alongside job share. That way we will have a win-win situation which is best for everyone especially in these difficult economic times".

Angela O'Connor is  President of HR Society and CEO of The HR Lounge 

 
 
 
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