"I Was Unable to Get a Job Because of My Marital Status," Mother of 3 Cries Out, Lawyer Reacts

"I Was Unable to Get a Job Because of My Marital Status," Mother of 3 Cries Out, Lawyer Reacts

  • A mother of three was unable to get a job she is qualified for simply because she is married and not single
  • The woman said she passed the aptitude test and did very well in the interview but was disqualified because of her marital status
  • Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong explains whether discrimination is allowed in employment opportunities

Legit.ng journalist Adekunle Dada has over 5 years of experience covering metro and government policy

Lagos state - Anonymous wrote:

"When I thought my state of being unemployed was over, I got a huge sock from an employer who felt I was unfit to occupy a position because am a married woman with three kids.
It was not stated that single ladies and guys are those who can apply for the possible. I sat for the aptitude test passed, moved to the interview stage and I also did well.

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Married woman denied employment
Lawyer says employers have freedom to set criteria for recruiting staff. Note: Photo used for illustration purposes only. Depicted person has no relationship with the event described in the material.
Source: Getty Images
I got a subtle rejection after the interviewer discovered that I’m a married woman. Is being a married woman a disadvantage or disability in the workplace? I need a legal explanation for this."

Discrimination based on marriage is prohibited, legal expert reacts

Barrister Inibehe Effiong is the former convener at the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders and principal counsel/head of the Chamber of the Inibehe Effiong Chambers.

The human rights lawyer explained that section 42 of the constitution prohibits employers from denying applicants jobs based on status or marriage.

Effiong, however, said employers are given more freedom in setting criteria for recruiting staff.

"Under the Constitution, discrimination based on status or marriage is prohibited and that is by virtue of section 42 of the Constitution.

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"Now, you also have to examine the nature of the job for what we call contract or employment with the statutory level, that is government-related employment. That sort of reason will not be permissible to be used to deny one employment. But for regular non-government employment, employment in the private sector, employers are given more latitude and more freedom in setting criteria for recruiting staff. There are certain jobs where productivity may depend on several factors. So sometimes they will look at the marital status of the person, depending on what the job description will be, and whether the employer believes that they would be employees or the applicants will be able to perform that role efficiently."

An employer has the right to determine who to hire

The legal expert added that the courts cannot force an employer to hire an applicant against his/her will.

"Again, it depends on the nature of the job. The important point you must also note is that employment is contractual. Right and as we say in law, the courts and the law cannot compel an unwilling employer to employ a willing employee, if the employer is unwilling and the servant is willing, the court can not intervene because the employer has the right to determine who to hire and who to fire, that discretion is there and the law cannot take it away, it is entirely left for the employer to determine who he or she or the condition one wants to employ. As I said for government-related employment, the rules are stricter and more protective."

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My native name denied me job opportunities

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that a Nigerian man named Inein Victor Garrick was unable to land a job in the United Kingdom until he removed "Inein" from his CV.

The man said prospective employers found it hard to pronounce his first name. This was a barrier to his job-hunting efforts, so he had to do away with it.

Garrick said several applications he submitted never made it to the last stage due to the name barrier.

Disclaimer: Advice given in this article is general and is not intended to influence readers' decisions about solving employment issues. Readers should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any decision.

Do you have a story to tell? Want an expert's advice? Please email us at ask.an.expert@corp.legit.ng with 'Ask an expert' in the subject line.

Source: Legit.ng

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