Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Claims Leeds

Pregnant Women’s Rights

The Equality Act 2010 ruled that any discrimination or unfair treatment against pregnant women was to be outlined as illegal behaviour.

 From that point on, women have been entitled to health and safety protection rights for themselves and their babies, reasonable and paid time-off for antenatal care, and protection against any unfair treatment or dismissal from employment arising from their pregnancy.

Maternity Leave​

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

There are 2 types of maternity leave:

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

The full term of maternity leave doesn’t have to be disclosed by the employee, but maternity leave should be applied for following the correct procedure. The employee isn’t always entitled to maternity pay; the factors that determine this are the employee’s average salary and the duration of employment before falling pregnant.

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What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Discrimination is carried out if an employer treats a pregnant employee unfavourably due to their pregnancy or in connection with their right to claim maternity leave. Despite pregnancy discrimination being controlled by the Equality Act 2010, the pregnant employee doesn’t have to compare her treatment to that of a male counterpart, only that the unacceptable treatment was the result of being pregnant.

Pregnancy discrimination protects all employees,including casual and agency workers, freelancers and contractors; it covers them from:

  • Dismissal and redundancy according to the law
  • Reduction of working hours and pay
  • Withholding of training and promotion opportunities
  • Being pressured into resignation
  • Being expected to carry out employment without the correct health and safety risk assessment for their condition in their working environment

Key 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 or refusal of taking time-off for antenatal care
  • Denial of pay increases and promotions
  • Being forced to take lower-paid positions
  • Exclusion from training

When Does Protection Against Pregnancy Discrimination Begin?

Protection from discrimination begins as soon as the employer is aware of the employee’s pregnancy. The employee does not have to tell the employer until the 15th week before their due date—which is also the latest date they can apply for maternity leave.

Pregnancy discrimination is also applicable to situations connected to pregnancy—such as miscarriage or fertility treatments. An employer could also be considered to be carrying out discrimination during any period that they believed an employeewas planning a pregnancy or trying to get pregnant.

If An Employer Dismisses A Pregnant Employee During Pregnancy

An employee may be dismissed during pregnancy if their employer has followed the correct protocol for a reason unrelated to the pregnancy; verbal and written warnings, disciplinary actions and hearings must all be carried out as they would under normal circumstances. In failing to carry out any of the standard procedures, their behaviour is entitled to be investigated. If there isn’t sufficient evidence to support their accusations, then a case for discrimination can be pursued.

If any of the employer’s decisions or testimony is based on behaviour or actions associated with the pregnancy (for example, pregnancy-related sickness or absence), then this is considered discrimination and liable for prosecution.

If An Employer Selects A Pregnant Employee For Redundancy

When an employee has been selected for redundancy during their pregnancy,the employer must show valid reasoning for their choice. If the reasoning appears inappropriate or invalid, then the employee may have grounds for a claim due to discrimination and should consult our specialist team to explore their rights.

When a pregnant employeeis made redundant fairly during pregnancy,then they may still be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.Call our specialist team now—they can tell you more about your rights to claim Maternity Allowance.

Reduced Shifts, Working Hours And Pay

It is against the law for an employer to reduce a pregnant employee’s working hours in an attempt to reduce her pay during the period of accounting that affects the amount of Statutory Maternity Pay awarded. An employer is entitled to make changes in working patterns and hours as they would under normal circumstances, but if changes only apply to the pregnant employee and not to any of their workmates or colleagues, then this will be viewed as a strong case for discrimination.

It may also be considered pregnancy discrimination if an employer reduces the employee’s workload by removing them from specific assignments, duties or responsibilities.

The accounting term to calculate maternity pay is usually 18 to 26 weeks into pregnancy. Any attempt to affect working hours and pay during this time, to avoid paying the full amount available to the employee, will be seen as discriminatory behaviour and liable for prosecution.

If you believe your employer is acting in this way already, call our team now to discuss your rights and your ability to make a claim.


If an employer behaves in such a way to make an employee’s working life difficult or uncomfortable, this is regarded as harassment. Either verbal or physical harassments that are administered with a view to manipulating a pregnant employee to terminate their employment is considered discrimination and liable for prosecution.

Other forms of harassment may include the withdrawal from work commitments, special events or training. In fact, any behaviour that is designed to make an employee feel excluded or uncomfortable can be viewed as discrimination.

Health And Safety During Pregnancy

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires any employer with female staff of childbearing age to carry out a full risk assessment of the workplace into the reasonable expectations and facilities for pregnant employees.

Any facility or activity that could be seen as a risk to the employee’s or baby’s health and safety must be dealt with accordingly. Suitable compensations may be changes to the environment, working conditions, the implementation of additional breaks or time-off or by any other suitable means.

In cases where the employer refuses to comply with such an assessment or to provide suitable working conditions, then this is considered discrimination and also liable for prosecution.

Antenatal Care Rights

Any antenatal care appointments are considered a basic right for the health of the employee and their baby and must be honoured by their employer.

In some cases, additional time-off can cause issues or resentment from the employer or work colleagues and can lead to harassment or other abuse and unfair treatment. If the employee gives fair warning and an appropriate amount of notice for all appointments, the unwarranted poor behaviour is judged as discrimination and suitable for prosecution.

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.

Your employer should never force you to make your appointments outside of your usual working hours, even if you are employed on a part-time basis. If they ever refuse your right to time off for antenatal care or refuse to pay youfor the time appointments prevent you from carrying out your employment, then you are entitled to claim for pregnancy discrimination.

Always Write To Your Employer To Make A Complaint

You should always write to your employer about any grievance or complaint you may have about their behaviour and any inappropriate treatment during pregnancy. This will provide a written record of the situation;you should also request any response be made in writing. All employers’ verbal responses, perhaps by means of a meeting or tribunal, should also be supplied as a written record of everything discussed, and any conclusions.

Making A Claim For Maternity Discrimination Against Your Employer

To proceed with a claim for pregnancy or maternity discrimination, action must be taken within 3 months from when the act relating to the complaint initially happened.

If you felt that a complaint wasn’t suitably managed or that an appropriate outcome to your situation wasn’t provided, you are entitled to take the matter to an employment tribunal against your employer. This must also be carried out within 3 months of the date of the act or behaviour being considered for prosecution.

Compensation will be considered for a successful claim, and the tribunal will make recommendations for the award. If the employer refuses to comply with the tribunal,then additional compensation may be awarded on top of the original award amount.

Any event or facility found to be in detriment of the law by a tribunal could require the employer to makes changes to company policy or the workplace,to prevent future instances of the same action being taken.

Compensation and Awards

There are no basic levels of compensation or award. Any award is considered relevant to the area of discrimination and appropriate to each individual case.

Compensation can be awarded towards:

  • Injury to feelings
  • Loss of earnings
  • Injury to health
  • Ancillary losses
  • Payment of interest

In the majority of cases,the main area of the claim will be made toward loss of earnings;incorporating both actual and considered future earnings.

Personal injury is often awarded in cases of psychiatric stress due to the delicate nature of the situation.Awards into the tens of thousands of pounds have been made in some of the most serious injury to feelings claims, so should not be taken lightly.

Receive Pregnancy/Maternity Discrimination Claim Advice Now

Please contact our team if you require any information regarding Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination.

If you think you might have a reason to make a claim against your employer, then our Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Solicitors are at hand to deliver high-quality legal advice in regard to the protection of your rights.

Please contact ESL  for professional and realistic advice regarding your maternity and pregnancy discrimination claim. We have a specialist team waiting to guide you towards the best possible outcome and award for your unique situation.

Contact Employment Solicitors Leeds Now

You can call on 0113 4334 118 or fill up enquire form for an initial consultation regarding your employment position. We will offer you complete and full advice in easy to understand terms to help you to establish the most likely outcomes for your case in a relaxed and pressure-free environment.

We understand how difficult this time can be, so our expertly trained staff deliver all 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 critical decisions backed by years of experience and industry knowledge.

Our Team

Craig McCracken

Craig McCracken

Craig McCracken is a Director in our employment team who also specialises in employment law with over 14 years’ experience in dealing with both contentious and non-contentious matters.In the most recent Legal 500 clients described Louise as being “accessible and down to earth” providing “clear and concise advice…in an exceptionally personable way”. Craig was described as “very knowledgeable and approachable” giving “sound advice”.

Louise Carr

Louise Carr

Our team is headed up by Louise Carr who had specialised in employment law for more than 15 years. She regularly appears in the employment tribunal and has been particularly involved in dealing with complex multi-day discrimination claims.

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