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Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, answers the question:

“What are my rights if I’m pregnant and have been told that my position may be made redundant?”

If you are pregnant and have been told that your position may be made redundant, then you have a limited amount of protection under UK legislation as follows:

  1. You have the right not to be subjected to unfavourable treatment because of your pregnancy (section 18 Equality Act 2010)
  2. If your dismissal is for a reason connected to your pregnancy then your dismissal may be automatically unfair (section 99 Employment Rights Act 1996)

The reason for your treatment is the crucial factor

If you’re pregnant and have been told that you may be made redundant then whether your dismissal is discriminatory or not will depend upon the “reason why” you’ve been treated in the way that you have (as per Nagarajan v London Regional Transport [1999] ICR 877) – the crucial factor is why you’ve been treated the way you have and whether there are sufficient facts from which a Tribunal could infer that the reason that you’ve been treated the way you have because of your pregnancy (or, at the very least, your pregnancy was a significant influence affecting your treatment). If there are sufficient facts from which a Tribunal could conclude that your pregnancy was the reason (or a significant influence on) why you have been selected from redundancy then the burden passes to your (previous) employer to show that there was a reasonable alternative explanation for your selection for redundancy (e.g. that here was a genuine redundancy situation). As you may have gathered context is everything in a case like this: if you show sufficient facts from which the Tribunal could infer discrimination took place then you have (at the least) a good case; if there is no evidence corroborating your assertion that discrimination took place then you may have difficult persuading a Tribunal that the reason that the reason you have been made redundant is your pregnancy.

In addition to the above, a critical factor in whether you would be a successful with a claim for pregnancy discrimination if you’re dismissed for the reason of redundancy is whether you have been informed of your pregnancy – if you don’t inform your employer of your pregnancy before you are made redundant then you will generally not succeed in a claim for pregnancy discrimination (see the reason Employment Appeal Tribunal case of Really Easy Car Credit Limited v Thompson for an exposition of UK law in this area (our analysis of this case, BAILII). This issue has also been clarified by the recent European Court of Justice decision in Guisado v Bankia SA (our analysis of this case, BAILII)

Difference with maternity leave

If you’re on maternity leave then you are entitled to enhanced protection from being made redundant under Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3312) (see our article on the rights of employees on maternity leave in redundancy situations).

Our solicitors’ views

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented: “If you’re pregnant and your employer is seeking to make you redundant then whether your redundancy is discriminatory depends upon the context of the situation – if you can show sufficient facts from which the Tribunal could conclude that your dismissal was discriminatory then you could have a good case. If you’re in doubt then contact a specialist employment solicitor to discuss your options.”

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    330 Reviews

    Arabella B

    I am so grateful to Caroline Lewis at Redmans Solicitor’s for helping me with my Unfair Dismissal Case. I was seriously impressed how easy Redmans made the whole case, and am very happy with my Settlement. I have recommended your firm to at least 5 people in the last 3 months.. Thank you Caroline and everyone at Redmans. You are Brilliant .

    Posted 7 hours ago

    Anonymous

    Highly professional and efficient service.

    Posted 12 hours ago

    Tanya T

    I had the pleasure of Chris and Sacha’s experience with a work matter. They made me feel at ease with the process and explained everything thoroughly. Would happily recommend Redmans especially Chris and use them if needed I’m the future. Thank you!

    Posted 13 hours ago

    Anonymous

    I used the services of Redmans solicitors and was a quick outstanding service I engaged them in a settlement agreement after been made redundant extremely professional at all that was done and would definetly use them again

    Posted 14 hours ago

    Adrian A

    Spot on support, enough to get the matter at hand sorted. No beating around the bush, no nonsense - got the job done and we all moved on.

    Posted 14 hours ago

    Mark Q

    Five Stars I was most impressed by the attention, courtesy, speed and above all, professionalism in dealing with my Settlement Agreement. I would certainly have no problem in recommending this firm to anyone in need of their services.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Ade A

    I was surprisingly impressed by how Redmans Solicitors handle my case. From the moment I call them to the absolute end of my case, they always look after my best interest.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Malcolm P

    they were there when others were not

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service all the way through from start to finish. Really great support and guidance from the team, they secured the offer that I wanted. I can't recommend Redmans highly enough and will be sure to use their services again should the need arise.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 1 month ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 months ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 3 months ago