Deakin Uni to face tribunal over alleged pregnancy discrimination


“It was really traumatic. Literally the first few days after this amazingly beautiful little baby girl was born, I was in the hospital looking for a job,” she said.

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She said she applied for a one-year contract and had an interview 15 days after the baby arrived, but was told she was unable to get the job due to questions about her interpersonal skills.

After a number of internal investigations, she decided to take the matter to the VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal), which will enter arbitration in February.

A spokesperson for Deakin said the university fully supports parental leave and offers different entitlements to primary caregivers and partners.

A spokesperson said, “We are committed to providing our staff with as much support as possible during pregnancy, on vacation, returning to work, and in their continued capacity as parents and valued Deakin staff members. I am aiming.

They said it was inappropriate to discuss the matter as it was before VCAT.

Dalley believes pregnancy discrimination is much more common than people think. “I think it’s often done in a really naughty way. Strangely people’s contracts don’t get renewed.”

She said women often enter the field when they are of childbearing age, and she has known women debating whether to delay their pregnancy, not to disclose their pregnancy, or to have a baby during their contract.

“It’s a really tricky time for women right now,” said Daly.

Since then, she began working as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

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Parenthood executive director Georgie Dent said it was “very rare” for a new parent to file a formal pregnancy discrimination complaint. That’s why it’s easy for people to think it doesn’t happen it’s pretty invisible and when it’s happening to them it’s easy for others to think it’s just you ‘ she said.

A spokesperson for the Australian Human Rights Commission said although the number of pregnancy-related complaints it has received is low, employees who experience discrimination may face various barriers to discourage them from filing complaints. .

Complaints mainly came from white-collar workplaces such as governments, healthcare providers and the real estate industry. No complaints for 2021-22 came from the education sector.

Allison Burns, president of the National Association of Higher Education, said Deakin’s issue included serious allegations of discrimination affecting the hardworking academics who bravely pursued her case. said that while there are strong policies on gender and women, there may be a gap between rhetoric and reality.

She said the case also highlighted the difficulty that two-thirds of university staff hold precarious jobs, which is a major factor in whether someone pursues a discrimination complaint. there were.

“The fact that women are still tackling pregnancy discrimination in 2023 is infuriating. People need to be outraged that public institutions haven’t cleaned up this kind of shocking act,” Barnes said. said.

The union is seeking compensation for financial and economic losses. pain and humiliation; reputational damage; and an apology from Deakin. According to the union, Deakin wrote to Dally in July saying she wasn’t being discriminated against in any way.

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