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Pregnancy Discrimination

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Pregnancy Discrimination can be a very real concern to an employee facing the situation. Even in the current year, some employers sadly lack the understanding and compassion required during this hugely important turning point in life.

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy Discrimination is where you are treated unjustly and with prejudice, because you are either pregnant or you recently had a baby. The most common examples are where women are fired or made redundant when they get pregnant. Other cases involve situations where women did not retain their previous position when they returned to work or in other instances they didn’t have a place at all.

This is unacceptable and it is against the law to discriminate against workers in this way under the Equality Act 2010, and so you can take action within the civil courts. Before you take this step, however, it may be wise to consider raising a grievance.

Pregnancy Discrimination


Do I have to have suffer repeatedly?

The answer is no – just one severe instance would be enough to make a claim. For example, you could be denied your previous position for no reason other than you recently returned from maternity leave. This would be an instance of pregnancy discrimination that could be tackled immediately.

In instances were pregnancy discrimination is threated but not enacted, these may require a couple of instances to be confidently tackled from a law perspective.

What are the necessary steps for raising a formal grievance?

 A typical procedure to raise a formal grievance in the workplace would consist of the following:

  1. Firstly speak to your line manager (unless they are the problem, in which case go straight to step 2).
  2. Your Human Resources manager should also be used.
  3. If this does not resolve anything then the next step would be to put your thoughts in writing to your employer.
  4. You can then have a formal meeting with your employer where your issues are discussed and hopefully handled.
  5. If issues still persist you can appeal your employer for not correcting the issues.
  6. Using mediation is often a good way to avoid an employment tribunal. This requires an impartial, independent person to come in and try to help you and your employer reach a jointly beneficial decision. However, this step is completely voluntary and does not need to be abided by.
  7. Take your employer to an employment tribunal.

Can ACAS help?

ACAS is an independent body that deals with issues in the workplace. They offer free, expert advice relating to good business practice and employment law and offer their services to both employees and employers in the hope of resolving disputes fairly.  ACAS will give you a gauge of how likely your claim would be to succeed if escalated to an employment tribunal.



Do I need to collect any evidence?

Collecting evidence is hugely beneficial to your claim, as it avoids the possibility of it becoming just one person’s word against another’s. You should endeavour to find CCTV footage that displays an event you were talking about, or you could print/save a string of emails that show how your employer is discriminating towards you as a result of pregnancy.

Other types of evidence also include eyewitnesses – a work colleague who has seen or heard your employer evidencing their discriminatory attitude toward you then have a conversation with them and see if they are willing to testify. Evidence can be crucial in dealing with a claim efficiently as there is very little that can be argued against things like emails which would directly show discrimination.

Why is the tackling of pregnancy discrimination important?

Pregnancy discrimination could cause expectant mothers additional pressure on top of the pregnancy – they must also worry about whether they will lose their job and on top of that how they will be able to sufficiently provide for a child without their job.

The stress is equally passed to mothers who have just had their child, as the loss of their job would result in an inability to provide. Stress at work would also be something you could include as part of your claim. For more information, please visit our Stress at Work page.  

Would I need to resign to make my claim?

 It is not necessary to resign from employment to make a claim for discrimination on pregnancy grounds. The Equality Act covers self-employed workers, not just employees.

Further to this,  many claims of victimisation arise as a result of pregnancy grievance being raised and that even if the grievance matter that you raised is not upheld or is sorted out, if the employer is resentful about the fact that you raise the issue and then treats you badly because you questioned whether the treatment that you got was discriminatory. This could give rise to a case of victimisation.

Has your employer made the work environment safe?

Many pregnant women are unaware that if a risk is identified at work and it is not safe for the pregnant woman to carry out her work safely, if that risk cannot be eliminated by the employer or adjustments accommodated then the woman should be suspended on full pay. Many women are told to go on the sick or are sometimes dismissed.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why Use Oakwood Solicitors to make your case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Employment law.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, terms that they don’t understand, and aim to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

A full breakdown of Fees and categories can be found here.



If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to pregnancy, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Solicitor and Head of Employment

0113 200 9776

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