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If an employee has accused you of discriminating against them as a result of pregnancy, maternity or paternity-related matters, the specialist employment solicitors at Wilford Smith are here to help. Our employment team have many years of experience and a proven track record in defending such claims and can provide strategic, proactive advice from the earliest stage.

Whatever the nature of your business, we can provide guidance and clarity to help resolve matters as straightforwardly as possible, allowing you to focus on the running of your company. Get in touch with our team today.

What is pregnancy and maternity discrimination?

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees from discrimination and victimisation because of pregnancy and maternity, a protected characteristic. This covers a woman from when she becomes pregnant until the end of her maternity leave, or when she returns to work. This time is known as the protected period. However, when the protected period comes to an end, it may still be unlawful to treat her unfairly. This could potentially be due to a decision that was made during the protected period, or the individual could also make a claim of sex discrimination.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination can take the form of:

  • Unfavourable treatment – the employee must not be disadvantaged because of her pregnancy or maternity
  • Victimisation – when the employee suffers a detriment that results in a disadvantage as a result of her protected characteristic

Unlike other types of discrimination claims, there is no need for the employee to show that they were treated less favourably than male colleagues or female colleagues that are not pregnant. If it can be shown that the worker would not have experienced the same unfavourable treatment if they had not become pregnant, they will have a claim for discrimination.

Employers should be aware of the protections afforded to pregnant employees which cover their treatment during pregnancy, including any less favourable treatment they receive due to pregnancy-related illness. There are health and safety issues in respect of employees who are pregnant, while regulations are in place that protect new and breastfeeding mothers on their return to work.

What is paternity discrimination?

New fathers and partners of new mothers are legally entitled to paternity leave when their partner gives birth, or when they adopt a child. A failure to allow paternity leave can result in a claim for discrimination.

Contact our Maternity and Paternity Discrimination Solicitors

The service provided by our employment discrimination solicitors is uniquely client-focused. Whatever your circumstances, a member of our team will be available to discuss the nature of any potential claim in detail and to immediately begin putting in place an effective strategy for you. If you have any concerns or questions, your lawyer will be happy to address these as part of our comprehensive employment law service.

If you are worried about a maternity or paternity discrimination claim, contact a member of our employment law team today on 01709 828 044.


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