Response stories

For family reasons: or what to do if denied employment due to the presence of children?

Almost 2,000 violations were recorded by the REAct system (Rights – Evidence – Actions) in 5 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2020. Out of them, 235 happened in Moldova. Twelve partner organizations work with key groups in the country, but, unfortunately, a third of cases remain without a proper response. Fear of interaction with law enforcement agencies, mistrust of the law enforcement system – the victims do not dare to defend their rights and refuse to help themselves. However, there are those for whom it is important to be heard in this struggle. And REActors are ready to help them completely.

“You all say so” or refused can not be accepted

In Bendery (Moldova), due to financial difficulties in the family, a mother of many children, a representative of key groups (sex workers and communities of people who use drugs), beneficiary of the NGO “Milocerdie” decided to find a job as an event organizer. In one of the municipal institutions of the city, a vacancy was just opened and fully corresponded to her skills and work experience.The client’s older child having special needs and disabilities has been living in a specialized boarding school since childhood, while the younger children are attending a kindergarten. A woman takes care of children, her mother helps her when she needs to work she spends time with the children.

To get a job, the woman called a potential employer and expressed interest in the vacancy. She told about her experience, education and noted that she also has characteristics from previous jobs. As a result of the conversation, the head of the organization expressed interest in her as a specialist and invited her for an interview.

The REAct client came for an interview and was interviewed by an HR department employee. As a result, he noted that they just need a specialist like her with such education, experience, and characteristics from previous jobs. And at the end of the interview, having already let the woman understand that she was suitable for this vacancy, he, by the way, asked about her marital status, the presence of children, etc. She spoke frankly about the children, to which she received a comment with the following message: “We do not need another mom with endless sick leave, time off, lateness, etc.” and that her candidacy does not suit. And the argument that her mother would help with children in case of need was answered with “You all say that.”.

What does the law “think” about this?

This incident falls under Article 141 of the PMR Criminal Code.
Article 141. Unjustified refusal to hire or unjustified dismissal of a pregnant woman or a woman with children under the age of three.

Unjustified refusal to hire or unjustified dismissal of a woman on the grounds of her pregnancy, as well as unjustified refusal to hire or unjustified dismissal from work of a woman with children under the age of 3 years, for these reasons, shall be punished with a fine in the amount of from 700 to 1700 minimum wages or mandatory works for a period from 120 to 180 hours.

Working mother of many children = reality?

As a result of the incident, the client asked for help from the NGO “Melocerdie” and was referred to REActor, who documented the case. The organization’s lawyer analyzed the situation. Initially, the client was asked to speak directly with the head of this organization, bypassing an employee of the HR department. He willingly made contact, trying to find out from the client the reason why she was refused and as a result of the meeting, the client was employed without any obstacles. A penalty was imposed on an employee who violated the law in relation to a client. In addition, a meeting was held with the head of the employing organization and the organization’s lawyer, during which the possible responsibility for such violations was explained.

We destroy stereotypes and move on!

The client refused to write a statement. She successfully completed the probationary period of 3 months – she is fully employed, her management is characterized as a responsible, executive, and qualified employee. And an employee of the organization, who violated the rights of a mother with many children, apologized for the prejudice and the use of stereotypes, recognizing the professionalism and responsible attitude of the new colleague to work.