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Pregnancy/Maternity Discrimination Claims

Pregnant Women’s Rights

Discrimination and unfair treatment against pregnant women is ruled as illegal behaviour regulated by the Equality Act 2010.

By law, women are entitled to rights of health and safety protection for themselves and their baby or babies. They are entitled to reasonable and paid time-off for antenatal care, and are also protected against unfair treatment and dismissal arising from pregnancy.

 Maternity Leave 

Pregnancy/Maternity Discrimination Claims 1

Pregnant employees have the right of up to 52 weeks maternity leave. They may also be entitled to maternity pay.

Ordinary Maternity Leave — if you return to work after the first 26 weeks of maternity leave you are entitled to return to exactly the same job that you left.

Additional Maternity Leave — if you return to work after a further 26 weeks of maternity leave you are entitled to return to the same job that you left, but if this isn’t considered practical or reasonable by your employer they are entitled to offer you a suitable alternative role that must be in line with the terms of your previous contract.

You do not have to tell your employer how much leave you plan to take but you should apply for maternity leave following the correct procedure. You may not always be entitled to maternity pay due to factors pertaining to your average salary or the duration of employment before becoming pregnant.

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

It is against the law to treat an employee unfavourably due to situations arising from pregnancy or from her right to take maternity leave. Despite being regulated by the Equality Act 2010 a woman does not have to compare her treatment to that of a male counterpart but only that her unfair treatment occurred due to her pregnancy.

All employees including casual and agency workers, freelancers and contractors are protected from pregnancy discrimination.

Workers are protected from dismissal because of their pregnancy or maternity leave. They are also protected against the reduction in working hours and of pay, the withholding of training and promotion opportunities, being pressurised into resignation, being expected to carry out employment without the correct health and appropriate safety risk assessment for their condition in their working environment.

Main areas of pregnancy discrimination found by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in 2015 were; being forced out of their job, harassment and negative comments, discouragement from taking time-off for antenatal care, denial of pay increases and promotions, being forced to take lower-paid positions, exclusion from training, and refusal for time-off for antenatal care.

When Does Protection Against Pregnancy Discrimination Begin?

Women are protected from discrimination as soon as their employer knows they are pregnant. A woman does not have to tell her employer she is pregnant until the fifteenth week before her due date. This is also the latest date a woman can give notice in order to take maternity leave.

Pregnancy discrimination may also apply to situations connected to pregnancy such as miscarriage or fertility treatments. An employer may also be breaking the law by applying discrimination during any period that they believed an employee was planning on or trying to get pregnant.

If An Employer Selects A Pregnant Employee For Redundancy

If a pregnant employee has been selected for redundancy because of their pregnancy or maternity leave then they may have grounds for a claim due to discrimination and should consult our specialist team to explore their rights.

If pregnant employees are made redundant fairly because of pregnancy or maternity leave then they may still be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay. Contact our specialist team to find out more about your rights to claim Maternity Allowance.

Harassment

Any actions taken by an employer to make a pregnant employee’s working life difficult may be considered harassment. An employer may take steps to make an employee’s position uncomfortable or more difficult in order to force them into considering leaving their position. These can be verbal or physical harassments, they make take the form of being withdrawn from work commitments, events or training procedures. Any behaviour that is unfairly administered to make an employee feel uncomfortable or excluded due to pregnancy is also considered discrimination.

Health And Safety During Pregnancy

Any employer with female staff of childbearing age is required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to carry out a full workplace risk assessment into what are reasonable expectations and facilities in the event of employee pregnancy. Any work activity or condition that suggests risk to an employee or her baby’s health and safety must be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Compensations may be made utilising additional breaks or time-off, changes in working environment, working conditions or by other means.

If your employer refuses to act accordingly in respect of suitable working conditions then this can be considered discrimination and could be appropriate in making a claim.

Antenatal Care Rights

Your employer must honour all time taken off work to attend antenatal appointments. Employees should try and give their employers a fair amount of notice so accommodations to their working schedule and workload can be made. An employer cannot force you to make your health and medical appointments out of working hours even if you are employed on a part-time basis.

Antenatal care includes appointments with your GP, nurse or registered midwife. You must provide proof of pregnancy and appointments if asked to do so by your employer.

If your employer refuses your right to time-off for antenatal care or refuses to pay your wages for those times then you are entitled to claim for pregnancy discrimination.

Write To Your Employer To Make A Complaint

It is always beneficial to write to your employer with any grievances or complaints about their behaviour and your treatment during pregnancy. By doing this you will have a written record of your situation and any response should be made in writing. If your employer’s response is verbal or dealt with by means of a meeting or tribunal you should ask for a written record of everything discussed and the conclusions.

If you are considering making a claim you must start proceedings within 3 months of when the act pertaining to the complaint initially happened.

Making A Claim For Maternity Discrimination Against Your Employer

If you have tried to approach any situation you feel inappropriate to your condition or that are in conflict of your rights without reaching a suitable or acceptable outcome then you may decide to raise an employment tribunal against your employer.

This must be carried out within 3 months of the act or most recent act to be complained about.

A successful claim will be considered for compensation and the tribunal will make recommendations for the award. If the employer fails to comply then additional compensation may be awarded on top of the original award amount.

Tribunals may also demand an employer makes changes to the company policy in order to prevent future instances of the same action being taken.

There are no basic or compensatory awards; awards are considered to the area of discrimination and appropriate to the case in question. Compensation can be awarded towards injury to feelings, loss of earnings, injury to health, ancillary losses and payment of interest.

Receive Pregnancy/Maternity Discrimination Claim Advice Now

If you require any information regarding Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination or if you believe you have a right to make a claim against your employer then contact our specialist team of Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Solicitors to receive high quality legal advice in regard to the protection of your rights.

Contact Employment Solicitors Manchester Now

You can call on 0161 82 11 559 or contact us by clicking here for an initial consultation regarding your employment position and wrongful dismissal concerns. We offer complete and full advice in easy to understand terms to help establish the most likely outcomes for your case in a relaxed and pressure free environment.

We understand how sensitive making a claim against your previous employer can be so our expertly trained staff deliver each of our services with empathy and understanding. It is entirely up to you whether you decide to pursue your claim or not. We’re here to help you make those important decisions backed by our years of experience and industry knowledge.

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