Employers are not allowed to discriminate against women who are pregnant or on statutory maternity leave. If you think your employer has treated you unfairly in these situations, you might have a good pregnancy or maternity discrimination employment tribunal claim.
Under the 2010 Equality Act, pregnancy and maternity issues are a ‘protected characteristic’, which means they cannot be discriminated against. However, discrimination does unfortunately happen from time to time and it can take a variety of forms:
• Using recruitment practices that put you at a disadvantage due to your pregnancy or maternity leave.
• Putting into place working practices that leave you at a disadvantage, such as by ruling you out of a promotions list due to being pregnant or on maternity leave.
• Withholding other employment benefits (such as training or opportunity for transfer) due to your pregnancy or maternity leave.
• Unfairly dismissing you for being pregnant or while you are on maternity leave.
• Subjecting you to harassment due to your pregnancy or maternity leave, or victimising you for making a harassment claim against your employer.
If your employer discriminates against you because you are pregnant or on statutory maternity leave, you are able to make a claim against them no matter how long you have been working for them. The only stipulation is that if you are intending to take your pregnancy and maternity discrimination case to an employment tribunal, you should do so within 3 months of the incident of discrimination. If the discrimination has been on-going, you should make your claim within 3 months of the most recent incident.
Keeping a record of any discrimination can help your case as you will be asked to present evidence at your employment tribunal. You might also be asked to show what other steps you have taken to resolve the situation, such as by following company procedure for complaints, so keeping a record of this will also be helpful. Seek legal advice to find out more about your options and the best course of action for you.
If you are successful at your pregnancy and maternity discrimination employment tribunal, you are likely to be awarded compensation as a result. The employer might also be advised on the steps they need to take in order to deal with the issues raised, such as making any necessary changes to employment practices.
For more information about this complex subject, visit our specialist Pregnancy Discrimination website.
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