A Spanish airline has been hit with a hefty fine for demanding flight attendants take pregnancy tests as part of the hiring process.
Iberia Airlines asked female candidates applying for cabin crew jobs to take the test before they were hired, The New York Times reports.
The airline was slammed for the sexist practice and was fined more than $36,000 AUD by the by the Ministry of Labour of the Balearic Islands.
A spokesperson for the airline defended the pregnancy test as a safety measure saying it "was only done to guarantee that they (women) did not face any risks”.
But Spanish health minister Dolors Montserrat slammed the workplace requirement as discriminatory. "Maternity can in no way be an obstacle for access to a job," she said, the BBC reports.
The airline has since confirmed it will drop the pregnancy test requirement.
On Australian soil, discrimination against pregnant women and mothers in the workforce continues to be a concern.
According to an Australian Human Rights Commission report titled ‘Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review’, one in five mothers had their employment significantly altered during or after parental leave.
Some mothers faced redundancies, restructuring, job dismissal or contract changes during their pregnancy or during parental leave.
Bianca Mazzarella, Senior Associate for Melborne law firm McDonald Murholme, encouraged marie claire readers to be aware of the rights of mothers and mothers-to-be.
“An employee cannot be discriminated against because she is pregnant and the Fair Work Commission is strict in enforcing this,” she said.
“The contemporary provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) endeavour to protect working women from any adverse action being taken against them based on their gender or pregnancy.
"Women who are discriminated against may be less engaged with the workforce, and are more likely to not return to the workplace after their maternity leave.”
Ms Mazzarella explained that potential or existing employees who are discriminated against for being pregnant can file a General Protections claim in the Fair Work Commission. They can also make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.