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Italy – Gi Group denies union accusation of discrimination

21 June 2012

Gi Group, the largest Italian-owned staffing agency, has been accused by the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) of turning down an agency worker at a branch in Pescara because she was five months pregnant, but Gi Group denied the allegations in a statement issued to Staffing Industry Analysts.

The union claimed that an agency worker, Monia Pecorale, had been in fixed-term employment for 10 years and had applied for a position at a public body, part of the Italian Tourist Office in Silvi, when she was “denied” the post because of her pregnancy.

The union claimed the case was an “intolerable act of discrimination” although the staffing firm said it had been a corporate decision not to hire the agency worker which had nothing to do with her pregnancy. But the union issued harsh words against the firm, denouncing the case as “shameful” and claiming it had violated rules on equal opportunities.

When contacted by Staffing Industry Analysts, Gi Group said it had been made aware of the case. In a statement the company said that the decision not to hire the agency worker was made “on the basis of professional selection criteria to ascertain whether the candidates’ skills correspond with those required for the position.”

The firm clearly denied the accusations saying it does not discriminate against pregnant women. “Any such behaviour conflicts with the values of the company and the actual day-to-day reality: since the beginning of this year Gi Group placed 89 pregnant women to work on site at customer companies.

“Furthermore, in confirmation of our focus women's employment, two years ago, Gi Group launched the Moms@Work project, the first employment agency service in Italy entirely dedicated to jobs for mums, reintroducing them into the workplace and enhancing their status.”

Gi Group also said that it is "working on behalf of the candidate" to find solutions that are "appropriate" and "consistent" with her professional profile.

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