§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Paymaster General how many prosecutions there have been of employers under the Sex Discrimination Act for having asked women seeking employment about their intentions on starting a family.
§ Mr. John Lee
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 makes it generally unlawful as a matter of civil law for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of sex when recruiting employees. Discrimination in recruitment is not a criminal offence, and prosecutions cannot be brought in this respect under the Act. Rather, it is open to individuals who believe they have been discriminated against in recruitment for jobs to seek redress by making a complaint to an industrial tribunal.
Whether or not the asking of certain questions constitutes evidence of sex discrimination would be a matter for an industrial tribunal to decide, on the merits of the particular case. I regret that tribunal case statistics are not recorded at a sufficient level of detail to identify specific grounds of complaint.