What is Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination at work?
A person discriminates against a woman if in the “protected period” in relation to a pregnancy of hers, she is treated unfavourably because of:
(1) the pregnancy; or
(2) an illness suffered as a result of her pregnancy; or
(3) the fact she is on compulsory maternity leave; or
(4) the fact she is exercising or seeking to exercise her right to or has exercised or sought to exercise her right to ordinary or additional maternity leave
As it is a requirement to show unfavourable treatment and not less favourable treatment, you do it need to compare yourself to any comparator, namely a male or female who was not pregnant.
[S18 Equality Act 2010.]
The “Protected Period” starts when the pregnancy starts and ends at the end of the additional maternity leave period or (if earlier) when she returns to work after pregnancy.
If the woman does not have the right to ordinary or additional maternity leave (perhaps because they are not an employee), the period ends at the end of the period of 2 weeks beginning with the end of the pregnancy.
Treatment is deemed to have occurred in the Protected Period if it was a decision taken during the Protected Period but not implemented until outside it.
Note: If s18 applies as set out above, then generally S13 Equality Act 2010 [Direct Sex Discrimination] cannot apply as well.
So, S13 would apply if S18 did not, for example, because the women were treated unfavourably because of pregnancy or pregnancy-related illness outside the protected period.
Any damages are uncapped and represent any monetary losses suffered in terms of wages, pension rights. perks etc.
A Tribunal may also award compensation for Injury to Feelings.
This falls into 1 of 3 Vento bands namely:
Lower band: £660 t0 £600
Middle band: £6600 to £19,800
Top Band: £19,800 to £33,000
Any pregnancy or maternity discrimination claim must be lodged at a Tribunal within 3 months less one day from the act of discrimination complained of or the end of a continuing act of discrimination if a discriminatory act extends over a period of time such that it is deemed a continuing act.
Note: You are obliged to go through ACAS Early Conciliation before you are able to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim. See ACAS Early Conciliation
Note: The potential impact of ACAS Early Conciliation on your time limit for issuing an Employment Tribunal claim.