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Age Discrimination

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what safeguards are in place under current legislation to prevent firms from unfairly discriminating against younger women, and in favour of older women less likely to take advantage of maternity and other benefits; and if she will make a statement. [113497]

Discrimination on the ground of pregnancy or maternity is a form of direct discrimination on the ground of sex. The courts have interpreted the Sex Discrimination Act as meaning that discrimination on the ground that a person is, or might become, pregnant is unlawful. The amended Equal Treatment Directive published on 5 October 2002 says that less favourable treatment on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity within the meaning of the Pregnant Workers Directive constitutes sex discrimination.