In Webb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd (No.2) (19 October 1995), the House of Lords rules that a dismissal on grounds of pregnancy was contrary to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, even though a man in similar circumstances would also have been dismissed. The House of Lords finds that the Sex Discrimination Act can be interpreted so as to accord with the ruling of the European Court of Justice that it was contrary to the Equal Treatment Directive to dismiss a woman on grounds of pregnancy, where she had been recruited for an unlimited term, even though she was initially going to replace another employee going on maternity leave and thus would not be available for that work.
An employer directly discriminates against a pregnant woman contrary to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 if, having recruited her for an indefinite period, it dismisses her because she will be temporarily unavailable for work at a time when she knows that she will be particularly needed, holds the House of Lords in Webb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd.
In Ministry of Defence v Meredith, the EAT holds that exemplary damages are not available to an ex-servicewoman who was dismissed contrary to the Equal Treatment Directive because she was pregnant.
Dismissing a woman while she was pregnant, in accordance with the employer's sickness absence rules, was not an act of sex discrimination under either UK or EC law, holds the Court of Session in Brown v Rentokil Ltd, even though the employee's illness was directly due to her pregnancy.
A contract worker supplied to a client company by an employment agency was entitled to pursue a sex discrimination complaint against the client company, even though she had no direct contractual relationship with that company and was not actually working at the time relevant to the complaint, holds the EAT in BP Chemicals Ltd v Gillick.
The EAT's judgment in Ministry of Defence v Cannock and others contains several points of general importance on the calculation of compensation for discrimination, notably the approach to be taken to the assessment of future loss of earnings.
It is impermissible, under EC equality law, to compare a woman who will be unavailable for work due to pregnancy, to a man who would be similarly unavailable because of medical or other reasons, holds the European Court of Justice in Webb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd.
According to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, the industrial tribunal in Dunlop v A S Baird Ltd was entitled to conclude that there was no breach of the sex discrimination legislation when an employer made a woman redundant after her return from maternity leave because her job duties had been reallocated in her absence.
The contract of an employee who is on maternity leave may continue during her absence, even if she has failed to comply with the statutory notice requirements and so has no right to return to work, confirms the EAT in Hilton International Hotels (UK) Ltd v Kaissi.
The EC "Equal Treatment" Directive prevents an indefinite contract of employment for night work entered into by an employer and a pregnant woman, both of whom were unaware of the pregnancy at that time, from being void on account of a statutory prohibition on night work by pregnant or breastfeeding women, holds the European Court of Justice in Habermann-Beltermann v Arbeiterwohlfahrt, Bezirksverband Ndb/Opf eV.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to pregnancy or maternity discrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.