Shockingly, even in the 21st century, pregnancy discrimination is not uncommon. The EOC’s (Equal Opportunities Commission) investigation into pregnancy discrimination in 2005 found that over the next five years one million pregnant women were likely to experience discrimination at work.
Are you a new mum with a Court Appearance looming? Is the Hearing near to your birth date?
So, how does the court review consider the status new mums at court?
The court has gone some way to tackle this by introducing the Equal Treatment Bench Book in 2013. Significantly, these are only guidelines for judges, magistrates and all other court staff, and not rules which have to be followed. Therefore, the courts are merely ‘recommend’ changes for pregnant women in courts and tribunals.
The guidelines suggest that pregnant women and new mothers should always be considered in any proceedings either as parties, witnesses or representatives. Therefore, the court should factor in additional breaks.
1. Women who are breastfeeding should be accommodated in any case management decisions.
2. A woman who is heavily pregnant or has just given birth should not be expected to attend a court or tribunal unless she feels able to do so. This would be at least one month before the birth and at least two months after the birth.
3. Breaks should be allowed for breastfeeding.
4. It may be possible to conduct a hearing with a baby or child in the court provided the baby or child is not disrupting the hearing, for example, by crying or making noise. This is a decision for the Judge who has to decide whether it is appropriate for the child to see and hear the proceedings.
So, if you are a new mum and due to attend court, make the court aware of your situation as soon as the court date is listed. Further, make sure your needs are considered by the court. If you feel that you are not be heard by the court, please do not hesitate to contact us today on 01953 883535 or 01603 813920 for advice.