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Pregnancy and maternity discrimination: Employment tribunal round-up

Author: Susie Munro

We look at five recent cases in which employers have been found to have discriminated against employees who were pregnant or on maternity leave.

Some of these cases are examples of clearly inappropriate treatment of pregnant employees by senior managers. Others are examples of a failure to deal properly with potentially complex situations.

The burden of proof

For a claimant to succeed in a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, it is not necessary for them to show definitive proof that the employer discriminated against them, or that the treatment of them was deliberate. Neither do they have to show that they have been treated less favourably than another employee.

The claimant must show that there are facts from which the tribunal could conclude that they were treated unfavourably because of their pregnancy or maternity leave. The burden of proof then shifts to the employer to show that there was a non-discriminatory explanation for the unfavourable treatment.