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, if an employee has high absence levels due to pregnancy-related sickness, it would be unlawful for your organisation to take action under its absence policy as a result of this. There is no need for the employee to compare her treatment with 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 for employees returning from maternity leave and these would be considered under the provisions relating to indirect sex discrimination.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
As always, HR professionals had their fair share of employment law cases to keep track of in 2018, but what were the 10 most important judgments in 2018 that every employer should know about?
The law on discrimination in recruitment and selection, including the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on recruitment, direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, the duty to make reasonable adjustments, positive action, occupational requirements, monitoring and keeping records.
In Really Easy Car Credit Ltd v Thompson, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) allowed the appeal and held that the employer was not obliged to revisit its decision to dismiss when it became aware that the employee was pregnant.
In Guisado v Bankia SA and others, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that there is nothing in EU law to prevent a pregnant worker from being included in collective redundancies.
Six in 10 employers (59%) believe a woman should have to reveal she is pregnant during the recruitment process, according to research published today.
Updated to include information on Uber BV and others v Aslam and others, in which the Court of Appeal held that Uber drivers are workers.
In this Spanish case, the Advocate General has suggested that a collective redundancy does not always qualify as an "exceptional case" permitting the dismissal of a pregnant worker.
Kirsti Laird is senior associate at Charles Russell Speechlys. She rounds up the latest rulings.
In Peninsula Business Services Ltd v Donaldson EAT/0249/15, the EAT held that childcare vouchers under a salary-sacrifice scheme constitute "remuneration", with the result that there is no legal obligation to continue their provision during maternity leave.
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.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.