To think that asking an interviewee if they have children should be banned?

(127 Posts)
SeaSickSal Sun 27-Oct-13 12:33:11

I was made redundant this year, by a company who tend to make women who've taken maternity leave redundant when they come back, but that's another story.

I've been going for interviews and the question of children seems to come up. I have a one and a half year old and as soon as he is mentioned the temperature seems to change in the interview because there seems to be an assumption that because I've had one I will probably be having another fairly soon.

I've actually been asked outright if I'm intending to have more and in one case offered the job but only if I did it on a self employed basis, despite it always being done by an employee before. I am fairly certain they only offered on that basis to avoid maternity pay. Other interviews have been wrapped up fairly quickly after it's been mentioned.

This seems that there is some pretty blatant discrimination going on and I'm getting the impression that private sector jobs are extremely difficult to get in these circumstances.

The question doesn't even come up in public sector interviews.

Am I being unreasonable to think the only way of stopping this kind of discrimination is to ban asking questions about kids in the first place?

KateCroydon Sun 27-Oct-13 12:35:44

I'm pretty sure it is illegal.

SeaSickSal Sun 27-Oct-13 12:36:36

Is it? If so what can you do about it if asked?

EllaMenOhPea Sun 27-Oct-13 12:37:44

I work in the public sector & would never ask an interviewee about whether they had/intended having any children.

When you next get asked, I would ask, as politely and nicely as I could "why do you ask?" It would put them in a corner at least ...

BloominNora Sun 27-Oct-13 12:38:35

They're not supposed to ask I don't think. They definitely shouldn't ask about plans for further children.

To be honest, I'd like to think that if I got asked about future child plans, I'd wrap the interview up myself and declare that I wouldn't feel comfortable working for a company that was so blatantly discriminatory.

But I appreciate that is easy for me to say from a position of not looking for work.

catgirl1976fucker Sun 27-Oct-13 12:38:59

Did they ask any men they interviewed that question?

You do not have to answer questions like that and they shouldn't be asking them.

mameulah Sun 27-Oct-13 12:40:01

I think it is a fair enough question. Although I do agree it is probably illegal.

My DH has his own small company. He works ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!! If he hires someone and they take maternity leave then he would have to work even longer hours, doing his job and theirs in order to cope. That would be regardless of what personal circumstances he had to cope with.

If you were paying the wages, what would you do?

PrincessFlirtyPants Sun 27-Oct-13 12:41:44

That is outrageous, and blatant sexual discrimination. Would they ask a man the same question?

I'm pretty sure that they can't ask you any questions of that nature.

EllaMenOhPea Sun 27-Oct-13 12:44:53

It's not illegal (unlawful is the term). Yes it is potentially discriminatory, but I don't know what you could do about it. Like I said I would avoid answering the question. But in relation to discrimination, I'm not sure if there is any recourse unless you are actually employed.

HexU Sun 27-Oct-13 12:46:52

They are not supposed to ask that question at interview - or at very least they have to ask the men.

I think you can make some kind of complaint afterwards - but it's not going to solve the issue.

Plus I've got DC - the number I want so ML in future won't be an issue for me so what does asking get - as DH could just as easily take time off if they are sick.

Maybe give less information about DC age, or imply you don't want more or address childcare issue as sorted. Refuse to answer and tell them they are breaking the law.

Sittingbull Sun 27-Oct-13 12:51:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HexU Sun 27-Oct-13 12:51:42

www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2012/mar/30/what-can-ask-job-interview

jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewsnetworking/a/answer-illegal-questions.htm

An interviewer can't ask your marital status, if you have children, what your child care situation is, or if you intend to have children (or more children). You cannot be asked about your spouse's occupation or salary. If you choose to answer a question of this kind, a graceful way to answer is to say that you are able to perform all the duties that the position entails.

AnyFuckersBigHat Sun 27-Oct-13 12:56:48

My dh got asked about kids and child are arrangements at an interview. He was open about the fact that I am the main earner and the bulk of child care at that time did fall to him.

He told them it was none of their business, and that his child care arrangements were in order, and thanked them for their concern.

He got the job

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:17:46

I think it is a fair enough question. Although I do agree it is probably illegal.My DH has his own small company. He works ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!! If he hires someone and they take maternity leave then he would have to work even longer hours, doing his job and theirs in order to cope. That would be regardless of what personal circumstances he had to cope with.If you were paying the wages, what would you do?

Well I wouldn't ask illegal questions for a start.

And I wouldn't assume because I work all hours because I own a business and directly benefit form doing so.....that the person male or female working for me should be expected to do so.

And also if he is able to work all hours it's because someone else is doing the work for him at home. Fine if you choose that life but please don't make it the default for all women otherwise women won't ever get equal employment status to men. Or even SAHM who expect their husbands to pull their weight at home

Women are the only ones who can have babies..it is fucking blatant discrimination to punish them for having babies while hiring their husband knowing he will ignore his duties at home!

Jenijena Sun 27-Oct-13 13:22:29

I cannot wait until dads taking additional parental leave becomes the norm. Then 30something blokes will also get asked stupid questions like this (yes, they can take six months off too(.

It will be equality, of sorts.hmm

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:28:52

Men can become new dads almost their whole lives jenjena... We might come out the better for it having a limited baby window!

pretty sure they will just start asking the man about his wife's age and plans though

WooWooOwl Sun 27-Oct-13 13:30:34

I think it is banned, but I think it's a fair enough question too.

My having children does affect my job sometimes, and I'm not ashamed of that, but I would be lying if I said it was irrelevant.

I occasionally have to take time off at short notice, and sometimes I get the phonecall from school saying they need to be collected and I have to leave work immediately. That's fine in my workplace because many of us are parents so we support each other and cover for each other when needs be. But in some workplaces I can see that it would be very difficult for that to be able to happen because of the nature of the job, so I think it's fair for employers to know that they are employing someone who will either be able to work around the demands of having children without it affecting their work, and if so, how they are going to do that. If they can't do that, then an employer deserves to know that so they can make an accurate decision about who is going to work best for them.

"My having children does affect my job sometimes, and I'm not ashamed of that, but I would be lying if I said it was irrelevant."

Yes, it means I am not hungover on a regular basis, I have no social life, I need the job so can't arse around, I have to be organised or stuff doesn't get done, I forward plan, I can't leave on a whim. Makes me a BETTER employee.

diddl Sun 27-Oct-13 13:36:42

But fetching a child/having time off when child is sick doesn't always fall to the woman, does it?

Also, adults can fall ill & need time off without notice!

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:39:34

woowoo the majority of adults in the UK will have children. In theory they shouldn't ask because they know their employee will probably have children.

But for some reason they don't ask all of their employees do they? They pretty much only ask women between 20 and 40.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:40:07

Should they also be able to ask middle aged people if they have eldery parents that might need care one day?

WooWooOwl Sun 27-Oct-13 13:40:16

No, it doesn't always fall to the woman, but sometimes it does. In my case it will because my DH earns a hell of a lot more than me and he doesn't get paid if he doesn't work.

MrsTP, being a parent doesn't mean that you can't have a social life, and being childless doesn't mean you are unorganised, hungover every weekend, or that you don't need a job! hmm

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:49:09

I think it is fairly obvious that wasn't what MrsTp was saying hmm

Neither does being a parent mean that you are a shit employee. The assumption is that women with children will be, though. Fucking patriarchy. Also, that could be the reason your DH earns more than you.

I love the irony. "I do the childcare because my DH earns more than me, it's fine that employers discriminate" So, because employers discriminate, you earn less and the cycle continues. Gotta love a vicious circle.

Cheers Partridge I know bitter sarcasm doesn't read accurately.

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