The government was forced to defend its translation of European sex equality laws in court yesterday (Wednesday) after complaints from the Equal opportunities Commission (EOC).
The implementation of the European Equal Treatment Drive led to judicial review proceedings being lodged by the EOC, which believes that women are not being offered the full rights they are entitled to.
Protection against sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination were highlighted as the main areas of concern. The EOC argues that under working rights established in the UK case law, women could lose aspects of existing maternity rights.
Jenny Watson, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said: "It is crucial that employers understand what is expected of them and that women enjoy the full protection of the law. This is why we have filed this review.
"The EOC believes that certain aspects of the Equal Treatment Directive have not been implemented effectively and that the law is unclear.
"This Government has taken important steps to end these persistent and stubborn forms of discrimination, and it would indeed be unfortunate if these regulations remained unchallenged."