Can employers discipline pregnant employees?

Yes, employers can discipline pregnant employees but only when it is an appropriate course of action in the circumstances, where the alleged misconduct or poor performance is unrelated to their pregnancy.

The employer should exercise caution and carry out a thorough investigation prior to taking any disciplinary action. It should be certain that there is no underlying pregnancy-related reason causing or contributing to the alleged misconduct or poor performance; if there is, disciplinary action could result in a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. For example, disciplinary action against a pregnant employee for persistent lateness could amount to pregnancy and maternity discrimination if her lateness is caused by morning sickness.