A recent appeal judgment clarifies when an employer should assess the risks for a pregnant worker, reports Howard Fidderman
Susannah Jarvis (associate) and Kate Williams (professional support lawyer) at Addleshaw Goddard analyse important rulings.
This week's case of the week, provided by DLA Piper, covers sex discrimination.
This article summarises the main issues and outcomes in five tribunal cases brought by pregnant employees or employees on maternity leave. Although the decisions are not binding on other tribunals, they provide useful illustrations for employers of situations that have led to pregnancy discrimination claims.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld an employment tribunal finding that the employer had not failed to carry out a risk assessment on the basis that the requirement to carry out an assessment did not apply to the employee's work. There is no general obligation to carry out a risk assessment on pregnant employees so that a failure to do so amounts to discrimination per se. The obligation to carry out a risk assessment is triggered only in certain circumstances.
In Stevenson v JM Skinner & Co EAT/0584/07, the EAT held that an employer complied with its statutory duty to carry out a risk assessment in relation to a pregnant employee when it addressed her concerns at meetings with her and, taking account of all the circumstances, evaluated and agreed the relevant risks.
In Mayr v Bäckerei und Konditorei Gerhard Flockner OHG  IRLR 387, the ECJ held that the protection afforded by the Pregnant Workers Directive against dismissal on grounds of pregnancy does not extend to a woman undergoing IVF treatment who was dismissed when in-vitro-fertilised ova existed but had not yet been transferred to her uterus. However, if she was dismissed essentially because she had undergone this advanced stage of IVF treatment, her dismissal would amount to direct sex discrimination contrary to the Equal Treatment Directive.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that the requirement to assess the safety risks to a pregnant employee is met by recording the risks then passing on the findings of the assessment orally to the employee.
This week's case of the week, provided by DLA Piper, covers pregnant workers.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.