MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should Ian hire a waitress who may want kids?

MSE_Jenny MSE Staff Posts: 1,312
Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
MSE Staff
edited 26 May 2009 at 6:09PM in MoneySaving polls
Here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:
Should Ian hire a waitress who may want kids?

Ian runs a small cafe, but business has been badly by the recession, and he's fighting to survive. He needs to hire a new waitress, but is thinking twice about picking Diane, who's got a great CV, but is recently-married, and he suspects may want kids quite soon. There is already one employee on maternity leave, and the company finances are so fragile that if Ian lost another worker for six months, the caff could face ruin.
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  • ThinkingOfLinking
    ThinkingOfLinking Forumite Posts: 11,828
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    I think the PC brigade has killed common sense in this country. I'm a female of child-bearing age and I think that Ian should put his business first and not hire a woman of child bearing age if that's what it takes to keep his business going. But I don't get why it has to be a waitress; what is wrong with a waiter?

    Another example of when I don't have a problem with certain level of discrimination is in ethnic restaurants. Eg I went to a Thai restaurant once and it was the worst meal I've ever eaten at a restaurant. My dining buddy asked for the chef to complain, and when presented with the chef, he wasn't Thai which may explain why the meal wasn't good.

    The more litigious we become as a nation and the more we're mollycoddled and nannied the worse these situations become. I'm looking for a job at the moment and wouldn't have any problem if I was turned down for reasons similar to the OP. It's life; these are tough times. And I want a baby in the next few years so couldn't pretend to not be maternal.
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Forumite Posts: 4,632 Forumite

    Who is going to eat in a restaurant where there is no tasty waitresses to look at??

  • ThinkingOfLinking
    ThinkingOfLinking Forumite Posts: 11,828
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Someone who is there to enjoy the food/wine and the company of friends/family, perhaps? I don't care what the waiting staff look like as long as they're kind, polite and hygienic.
  • narabanekeater
    narabanekeater Forumite Posts: 1,892 Forumite
    isnt Maternity leave 9 months?
    Mad Mum to 3 wonderful children, 2 foster kittens and 2 big fat cats that never made it to a new home!
    Aiming to loose 56 pounds this year. Total to date 44.5 pounds 12.5 to go. Slimming World Rocks!
  • corbyboy
    corbyboy Forumite Posts: 1,169
    Part of the Furniture
    scotsbob wrote: »

    Who is going to eat in a restaurant where there is no tasty waitresses to look at??


    Well there won't be a tasty waitress if she goes on maternity leave.

    He should choose a person based on what's best for his business. What's the point of hiring somebody if it might cost him his business? Then everybody loses their job.
  • SarahJay55
    SarahJay55 Forumite Posts: 17 Forumite
    As a woman 'of child bearing age', albeit one not interested in having children, and as an HR professional, I find this a very tricky topic!

    I am glad we no longer live in an age where marriage spells the end of a woman’s working life, but I definitely believe that maternity provisions are becoming financially and practically unbearable.
    The solution is a combination of greater sharing of childcare responsibilities between parents, and of placing a fairer (financial) value on jobs with true worth in society (eg carers of all kinds as opposed to say marketers or accountants - no offence to either of course!)- but that's a whole other tangent.

    In my professional capacity my advice has to be that, unless Ian has a genuinely better suited candidate for the job, he must select Diane. Not to do so would be infinitely more costly if he were taken to, and lost, an Employment Tribunal…
  • katemcg
    katemcg Forumite Posts: 9 Forumite
    It makes sense to hire Diane on the spot.

    a) the owner has no proof besides the fact that the woman is recently married. This is a very dubious reason.
    b) If the owner's finances are so precarious, it makes sense to hire the best and most efficient worker now. If she performs, it could mean finances improve quite quickly.
    c) even if Diane does become pregnant, she most likely wouldn't take maternity leave until quite a few months had elapsed, giving the owner time to find a replacement.

    Also, as a woman in a similar situation as Diane (i.e. recently married, in a new job, contemplating kids) I'm committed to giving my new employer at least 12 months of my time before getting serious about kids, and after that who knows how long it may take me to conceive, if at all.

    I wouldn't dream of taking on a new job if I were thinking of getting pregnant in the next few months and I think a lot of women would be the same.
  • Taffybiker
    Taffybiker Forumite Posts: 927 Forumite
    Ian could make it clear that he is hiring Diane as a temp for maternity cover. He can then offer her a permanent position at a later time. By then the employee on leave should have returned and even if Diane does become pregnant the business should be no worse off.
    Try saying "I have under-a-pound in my wallet" and listen to people react!
  • irritable
    irritable Forumite Posts: 19 Forumite
    He has to look after the best long-term interests of his business. If he believes that there is a strong chance of storing up future difficulty, he has an obligation to himself not to hire her.
    Sad perhaps, but as a small business he cannot afford the risks associated with taking her on.
  • purplegaily
    purplegaily Forumite Posts: 49
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Ouch - isn't this now against the law....

    I know that Ian doesn't have to tell anyone his decisions, but if he can't justify why he took someone else on over Diane if she is the best person for the job - then he could end up in legal hot stew (unlikely, but could happen).

    In this day and age, you need to be able to justify the reason why you didn't hire - the old guy, the black lady, the teenager, the woman of child bearing age, the person with the speech impediment.........

    Or, he could employ Frank - the big butch chap, who then breaks his leg playing rugby at the weekend, and can't work for months - or Tony, the caring sharing hubby, who wants to take Maternity leave for his family - when his wife has their first child (in 6 weeks!!)

    I understand business isn't easy, but you can't make decisions on the what if.
    Always on the look out for a bargain. :smileyhea Thanks if you've helped me bag one.
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