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Pregnancy and work

Women have the right to work while pregnant and to be treated the same as other workers unless there are good medical reasons for different treatment.

Where there are medical reasons that restrict certain duties, employers have to consider making reasonable accommodations.

Direct pregnancy discrimination is treating women unfairly because they are or may become pregnant.

Indirect pregnancy discrimination is treatment which appears to be equal but is unfair on women because they are pregnant. To be unlawful it must be unreasonable

Example – Direct discrimination

Kate worked full time as a receptionist. After she told her boss that she was pregnant, her hours were reduced to three days a week "for her own good" although her doctor advised she was fit to work full time. Kate could claim she was directly discriminated against by her boss because she was pregnant

Example – Indirect discrimination

A bank required staff to wear a uniform or lose points in a staff reward scheme. Nicky was eight months pregnant and unable to comply as no maternity uniform was available. Nicky could claim she was indirectly discriminated against by the bank because she was pregnant.

If you think you have been discriminated against at work because you are or may become pregnant, contact us for advice.

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