When you want to campaign for a change in the law it helps when you are not telling complete lies on day one. And that brings me to liberal email campaign group Change.Org which wants pregnant mums to be given more time than the rest of us to sue for unfair dismissal. So I get an email from a woman called Jodi Brearley of "Pregnant then Screwed". Jodi's personal tale is heart warming but then she starts lying.
As many as 54,000 women a year lose their jobs for getting pregnant, yet less than 1% of victims use the law to protect themselves.
So where does that data come from? HERE
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission commissioned a programme of research to investigate the prevalence and nature of pregnancy discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 legislation prohibits pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
The results in this report are based on interviews with 3,034 employers and 3,254 mothers.
Around one in nine mothers (11%) reported that they were either dismissed; made compulsorily redundant, where others in their workplace were not; or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job; if scaled up to the general population this could mean as many as 54,000 mothers a year.
So let's drill down a bit. In fact the data shows 1% of mothers were dismissed, 1% were made redundant while other workers were not and 9% said they felt that they were treated so poorly they had to leave.
In the real world some staff are dismissed for being rubbish each year and some of them will be pregnant so not ALL of the 1% will be unfair dismissals. Ditto redundancies...they do happen you know and when you are doing it you risk matrix it and the staff most suited to a redundo get it. So not all of that 1% will be unfair. By definition when redundancies take place in a form unless it is down to the form going bust, not all staff get P45s.
Finally to the 9%. These are women who felt they were treated so poorly they had to leave. That is a very different thing from saying they "were treated so poorly they had to leave". It seems highly likely that a good number of that 9% were not treated so badly that they had no choice but to quit.
So on the back of a really very small survey indeed ( a sample size of less than 0.66% of the relevant population), Jodi reads data that is clearly open to very significant challenge to make the headline grabbing assertion that "As many as 54,000 women a year lose their jobs for getting pregnant."
I actually have some sympathy with this request to change the law but this is a clear case of lies, damned lies and (lying about) statistics and that severely dilutes my sympathy. But then this is a campaign group run by liberal snowflakes for liberal snowflakes so they are quite happy to live in a post fact era and devour fake news as long as it suits their agenda which in this case is the traditional one: business bad/world sexist. Whatever..