Pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims: helpful evidence and tips
If you’ve been treated unfairly by an employer because you’re pregnant, had a baby, or taken a period of maternity leave then you could have been discriminated against.
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. If you’ve been discriminated against you could bring a discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal.
This page explains what evidence may be useful if you want to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal for pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
How to succeed with a pregnancy and maternity discrimination claim – key points
If you want to succeed with a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination you need to show that you have been treated unfavourably because:
- You are pregnant
- You are suffering or have suffered from a pregnancy-related illness
- You are on maternity leave (or intend to take a period of maternity leave, or have taken a period of maternity leave)
In order to show unfavourable treatment you need to show that you have been subjected to some form of detriment – this could be, for example, that you have been denied a promotion because you are pregnant, or that you have been dismissed because you intend to take a period of maternity leave.
As well as showing that you are pregnant (or are suffering from a pregnancy-related illness, or on maternity leave, or have taken or intend to take a period of maternity leave), you have to link the unfavourable treatment that you have been subjected to and your pregnancy – you need to show that the “reason why” you have been treated the way that you have is because of your pregnancy or period of maternity leave.
Useful evidence in a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination
The following evidence could be useful in an Employment Tribunal claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination:
- A chronological breakdown of what has happened, when, and who was involved
- A copy of your MATB1 form (showing your estimated due date), as well as evidence of when you gave this form to your employer
- Evidence of when you first informed your employer that you were pregnant (for example diary notes, emails, and notes of meetings)
- Evidence of any formal or informal complaints that you have made to your employer about unfair treatment (for example diary notes, emails, and notes of meetings)
- Evidence of how you have been treated unfairly by your employer (for example diary notes, emails, statements of colleagues, and notes of meetings)
- A copy of your employer’s equality policy, staff handbook, and maternity policy (if your employer has such documents)
- Details of what training your employer has implemented on equality and diversity in general as well as, specifically, how to treat pregnant women in the workplace and how to deal with periods of maternity leave
- A copy of any risk assessments that your employer has undertaken (whether because of pregnancy or otherwise)
- Evidence of how other employees who are pregnant or have taken a period of maternity leave have been treated – you can use this to argue that your employer has a practice of treating employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave unfavourably
- Evidence of how other employees who are not pregnant or have taken a period of maternity leave have been treated – you can use this to potentially argue that your employer has a practice of treating employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave less favourably
10 tips on what you should do if you think you are being discriminated against because of you are pregnant or on maternity leave
The following types of evidence are useful to gather if you are thinking of bringing a claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination:
- Take notes of any meetings, discussions, and telephone calls which are relevant to your claims
- Keep a diary of incidents of unfair treatment that have occurred – what conduct occurred, when it occurred, and who was involved
- Make informal or informal complaints that you believe you are being treated unfairly because you are pregnant or on maternity leave
- Keep evidence of any complaints that you have have made about unfair treatment in the workplace, as well as the outcome of such a complaint
- Make recordings of meetings or discussions on your smartphone – this kind of evidence can be crucial to demonstrate exactly what was said and by whom
- Keep copies of emails and letters (as well as any other documents) which are relevant to your claim – if these documents are on your employer’s computers or systems then you should think about downloading copies (in case your employer removes your access to these computers or systems)
- Keep your medical records relevant to your pregnancy and period of maternity leave (you may need to rely on these in the claim)
- Obtain and/or keep evidence of any upset or psychological harm you have suffered because of the discrimination (this will be relevant to remedy (how much money you might get if you succeed with your claim))
- Keep evidence of any discussions that you have had with ACAS or your employer about settlement of your potential claims
- You could look at making a subject access request to obtain your personal data – this may provide you with useful information regarding your claim
Other useful information
If you are experiencing unfair treatment in the workplace because you are pregnant or are taking a period of maternity leave then you may find the following information helpful:
Call Redmans for a free consultation
Call us on 020 3397 3603 to speak to a specialist employment solicitor – we offer a free 20-minute consultation.
You may also be interested in this: An employee’s guide to pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
You can find useful information on discrimination, and the law on discrimination, on the EHRC website.
ACAS helps employers and employees to resolve workplace disputes.