There’s a disturbing new trend of layoffs targeting pregnant women, new mothers and disabled workers as the economy tumbles further into a recession, human rights advocates said yesterday.

Ontario’s Human Rights Legal Support Centre is receiving 10 to 15 calls a week from women who have either lost their jobs or fear their employer will fire them because they’re pregnant or on maternity leave, said executive director Katherine Laird.

The complaints — which account for about 10 per cent of all employment-related inquiries — ramped up significantly in January when the economy really started to tank, she said.

Less than two weeks before her maternity leave ended, Vera Trevisanello, 36, said her employer told her not to come back.

She thought she was returning to a promotion and a higher salary after having her son, Noah, a year ago.

But her employer, a Toronto financial services company, told her the position was eliminated in a restructuring, and changed the subject when she pointed out that other employees were still doing the same work, she said.

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