Editor's message: Pregnancy and maternity discrimination differs from other forms of direct discrimination because it does not require the complainant to show that she has been treated less favourably than someone else. Instead, she must show that she has been treated unfavourably because of her pregnancy or maternity leave. For example, it would be unlawful to take action under an absence policy against an employee as a result of high absence levels due to pregnancy-related sickness. There is no need for the employee to compare her treatment to that of someone who is not pregnant.
There is no provision under the Equality Act 2010 for indirect discrimination in relation to the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity. Many cases are connected with the refusal of part-time or job-share work to employees returning from maternity leave and these would be considered under the provisions relating to indirect sex discrimination.
Susie Munro, senior employment law editor
Updated to include information on Kratzer v R+V Allgemeine Versicherung, in which the ECJ held that a person who applies for a job with the sole purpose of making an application for compensation for discrimination is not covered by EU discrimination law.
The Women and Equalities Committee has called for "urgent action" to stop discrimination against new and expectant mothers at work.
As many as 390,000 female workers a year have a "negative or possibly discriminatory" experience during pregnancy and maternity leave, or on their return.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that it is not discriminatory for an employer that offers childcare vouchers in return for a deduction from pay to cease to offer the vouchers during maternity leave.
On this week's XpertHR Weekly, we discuss the key findings of the survey by the Government and Equality and Human Rights Commission into pregnancy and maternity discrimination and provide practical guidance for employers.
In Lyons v DWP Jobcentre Plus EAT/0348/13, the EAT upheld an employment tribunal's decision that an employee who was treated unfavourably and dismissed by reason of absence for post-natal depression after the end of her maternity leave was not discriminated against under s.18 or s.13 of the Equality Act 2010.
An employment tribunal has found that it was discriminatory for an employer to make it a requirement to join its childcare vouchers scheme that employees agree to cease to be a member of the scheme while on maternity leave.
David Malamatenios is a partner, Linda Quinn and Krishna Santra senior associates and Melissa Powys-Rodrigues and Dominic Speedie associates at Colman Coyle Solicitors. They round up the latest rulings.
The European Court of Justice found that an Italian law that excluded a female worker from a vocational training course, which was necessary for a chance at a promotion, because she was on compulsory maternity leave constituted unfavourable treatment contrary to EU law.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that it was not direct sex discrimination or pregnancy and maternity discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 for an employer eventually to dismiss an employee who was on long-term sick leave for post-natal depression that continued long after her maternity leave had ended.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.