What Is Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination?

Along with sex, age, race, religion and belief, disability, gender reassignment, sexual orientation and marital status, pregnancy and maternity are the “protected characteristics” detailed in the Equality Act 2010.

This means that it’s illegal for an employee to be treated unfavourably because they are pregnant or have taken a period of maternity leave. Examples of pregnancy and maternity discrimination may include being overlooked for a promotion or being selected for redundancy because you have been on maternity leave.

If you have been treated less favourably because you are pregnant, because of a pregnancy-related illness, or because you have taken maternity leave or have asked to take maternity leave, then you may be entitled to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal for discrimination.

Get In Touch With Our Employment Lawyers

Who Can We Help?

Our specialist employment solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with pregnancy and maternity discrimination, as well as sex discrimination issues. We can act for you if you are:

  • pregnant or have a pregnancy-related illness and have been treated less favourably by your employer because of this
  • treated unfavourably because you are taking or seeking to take maternity leave
  • currently on maternity leave and your employer has not involved you changes in the business
  • returning from maternity leave to find that changes have been made to your role and responsibilities

We can also act for individuals who have discrimination concerns but remain in employment and do not want the stress and uncertainty of resigning with no alternative job to go to.

Our employment lawyers are, therefore, extremely experienced in negotiating lucrative exit packages to facilitate employees and senior executives leaving their employment as an alternative to pursuing a discrimination claim.

In addition to maternity rights, there are other types of family-friendly rights such as:

  • paternity leave and pay
  • adoption leave and pay
  • shared parental leave and pay
  • parental leave
  • carer’s leave
  • parental bereavement leave
  • time off for dependants.

It is illegal for an employer to put an employee to a detriment as a result of requesting or taking these types of leave, and if you have been disadvantaged in doing so, you may be able to pursue a claim against your employer.

Contact Our Maternity and Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

How Can We Help You

Our employment team  are specialists in dealing with pregnancy and maternity discrimination matters and are ready to assist you with your case, offering advice in clear, straightforward language.

This ensures you grasp your current circumstances and the subsequent steps to take. Our skilled solicitors are equipped to:

  • Negotiate with your employer to promote a settlement or exit package
  • Assist and navigate you through a settlement agreement with your employer, where appropriate, aiming to avoid the complexities of Employment Tribunal proceedings.
  • Prepare necessary legal documentation should your case proceed to an Employment Tribunal.
  • Advocate on your behalf in the Employment Tribunal, where appropriate.

Contact Myerson Solicitors

Our Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Experience

Recent examples of our work in this area include:

  • Acting for an employee of a major retailer on maternity leave, negotiating with her employer to achieve exit terms when she was told she could not return to her previous role after her maternity leave.
  • Assisting a senior executive of a major bank on maternity leave with negotiating a substantial exit package when she was told that her role was no longer available after her maternity leave.
  • Advising a senior HR employee on maternity leave in relation to a potential discrimination claim arising from her selection for redundancy, securing a significant exit package for her.
  • Advising another employee on maternity leave in relation to the right to be offered an alternative role because her role had been made redundant whilst she was on maternity leave.
  • Representing various individuals in relation to claims for sex and pregnancy/maternity discrimination in relation to women treated less favourably whilst pregnant or on maternity leave, including claims resulting in significant payments of compensation.

Contact Our Employment Solicitors

Why Work with Us?

Our specialist team of Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination solicitors is described in the independent Legal 500 directory as “excellent” and are highly recommended in the Legal 500. Therefore, you can be reassured that you will deal with some of the best employment solicitors in the country.

Our Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination lawyers can be strident and robust on your behalf, where appropriate, including when dealing with the largest of employers or professional organisations on behalf of our senior executive clients but also easy to deal with and clear in our advice. 

We will fight your corner, and we always take into account the sensitivity of a situation and your professional and personal circumstances.

In particular, our employment lawyers offer:

  • City centre standards of employment law advice and service levels due to our policy of recruiting only the best specialist employment solicitors from leading firms.
  • Clear and straightforward UK employment law advice that is user-friendly, pragmatic and commercial.
  • Extensive experience in advising various employees, including senior executives, directors and partners with complex employment concerns.
  • A credible team of employment law solicitors that are used to dealing with and providing representation against large employers and law firms on behalf of our clients.
  • A partner-led service and a genuinely accessible team of experienced employment law solicitors due to our size, structure and unique culture.
  • Cost-effective support tailored to your unique employment issues and certainty on costs where you need it.

Contact Myerson Solicitors

Testimonials

Frequently Asked Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Questions

I‘ve suffered maternity discrimination– what redress can I seek?

If you have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, you may be able to bring a claim against your employer in the Employment Tribunal. If you are successful, the outcomes could be:

  • Compensation.
  • A declaration of your rights.
  • A recommendation to your employer to stop the discrimination from happening again.

We are extremely experienced in assisting and representing individuals with discrimination claims. Please click here for details of our cost for this service.

What is the compensation for maternity discrimination?

If you are successful in pursuing a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination in an Employment Tribunal, there is no cap on the level of compensation that can be awarded.

Compensation is awarded for any financial loss suffered as a result of the discriminatory action and for “injury to feelings”.

I’ve not been working for my employer for very long, can I still pursue a claim for pregnancy discrimination?

Yes, unlike some other claims, there is no qualifying period of employment required to bring a discrimination claim.

In addition, if you are dismissed from your employment because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave or because you want to take any other family leave (such as parental leave, parental bereavement leave, or leave for dependants), then this could render the dismissal automatically unfair, and you can pursue this claim without needing to have the usual two years’ service.

For more information about your rights during pregnancy and maternity leave, please read our guide for pregnant people at work

Meet Our Employment Solicitors

Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our employment lawyers are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.

Joanne Evans

Joanne Evans

Jo is a Partner and Head of our Employment Team

Joanne Henderson

Joanne Henderson

Jo is a Partner in both our Employment and Compliance Teams

Charlotte Gilbert

Charlotte Gilbert

Charlotte is the Head of Myerson HR and a Partner in our Employment Team

Patrick Byrne

Patrick Byrne

Patrick is a Senior Associate in our Employment Team

Jack Latham

Jack Latham

Jack is a Senior Associate in our Employment Team

Vicki Fagan

Vicki Fagan

Vicki is an Associate in our Employment Team

Amy Salim

Amy Salim

Amy is a Solicitor in our Employment Team

Anjali Brown

Anjali Brown

Anjali is a Solicitor in our Employment Team

Kurt Reilly

Kurt Reilly

Kurt is a Solicitor in our Employment Team

Oliver Hinds

Oliver Hinds

Oliver is a Trainee Solicitor in the Employment Team.

Meghan O'Rourke

Meghan O'Rourke

Meghan is a Senior Legal PA in our Employment Team

Contact Myerson Solicitors

Complete the form below, or alternatively, you can call Myerson Solicitors on:

0161 941 4000