Minister pledges review of gagging orders linked to maternity discrimination

Gagging orders which prevent women speaking out about maternity discrimination are a priority in a Government review, according to a minister.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are at the “top of my agenda” amid calls for Government action to protect the thousands of pregnant women who either are sacked, made redundant or feel they have to leave their jobs.

Conservative Maria Miller, chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee, warned that many of the issues linked to this are “cloaked in secrecy” due to the use of NDAs.

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Miller said: “The minister knows pregnant women deserve better, and I know he’s about to be a dad so I know this is a very personal issue for him.

“It’s estimated that about 54,000 women are dismissed, made redundant or feel they have no choice but to leave their jobs, and this is not good enough.

“Much of this is cloaked in secrecy because of the use of non-disclosure agreements to withhold these potentially unlawful acts of dismissing women when they’re pregnant.

“And I hope the minister will put NDAs on his list of things to review when he reviews the legislation, as he’s very generously promised to do.”

Mr Griffiths replied: “She is right, we are in the Griffiths household waiting with bated breath – days before the next generation of Griffiths appear on the planet.”

He added: “Discriminating against women in the workplace because they are pregnant or new mothers is unlawful. This Government is determined to stamp it out.

“She raises the issue of NDAs – clearly this is a very topical and very serious issue, and it is at the top of my agenda.”

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