Protecting against pregnancy discrimination

How does the law protect pregnant women from discrimination?

Do you feel discriminated against at work because of your pregnancy? The law is protecting you. Contact us for further information:

Pregnancy and maternity is identified as a protected characteristic in section 4 of the EqA 2010.

  • Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace is prohibited in the specifically identified circumstances set out in section 18of the EqA 2010. It is unlawful for an employer to:
    • discriminate by treating a woman unfavourably during the protected period (from the beginning of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave) because of her pregnancy or because of an illness she has suffered as a result of her pregnancy (section 18(2)); or
    • discriminate by treating a woman unfavourablybecause she is on compulsory maternity leave or because she is exercising or fking to exercise, or has exercised or sought to exercise, the right to ordinary or additional maternity leave (section 18(3) and (4)).
  • A claim of direct discriminationon the grounds of pregnancy and maternity might be possible.
  • Pregnancy and maternity are excluded from the indirect discrimination provisions of section 19and the harassment provisions of section 26 of the EqA 2010. However, an employer is prohibited from victimising a job applicant or employee because they have made or intend to make a pregnancy and maternity discrimination complaint, or because they have done or intend to do other things in connection with the EqA 2010.
  • In determining whether a man has been discriminated against because of sex, no account is taken of special treatment afforded to women in connection with pregnancy or childbirth (section 13(6)(b), EqA 2010).
  • There can be a maternity equality clause included in a woman’s contract regarding the calculation of her pay while she is on maternity leave.
  • However, pregnancy and maternity discrimination may be permitted in certain limited circumstances.
  • If one employee discriminates against another, the employer will be liable unless it has taken reasonable steps to prevent such conduct from taking place. The offending employee may also be liable.
  • If a job applicant or employee succeeds in a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, a tribunal will generally award compensation (including a sum for injury to feelings).

If you are pregnant and are feeling discriminated against give us a call on 020 8579 1345

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