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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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    Anonymous

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

    Posted 1 day 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!

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    Anonymous

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

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    James G

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

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    Pravina P

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

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    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Melanie M

    Very happy with the detailed advice provided from Redmans. They also helped me to secure a higher settlement than originally offered by my employer and were extremely diligent. I first spoke with Chris at relatively short notice and then Sacha dealt with my case. Would definitely recommend and use again in the future if needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans helped me with a work related issue, which was resolved quickly and professionally. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    James F

    Great people, really friendly and professional helped with everything that I needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anusha S

    My case was handled by Sacha who was very thorough and helped me to achieve a good outcome with my employer. Sacha was very personal, professional and helped me during quite a stressful time, so I am hugely grateful to her and to Redmans. This was my first time engaging with a law firm so I wasn't sure what to expect but I can definitely say that it was a good experience overall and I ended up better off due to having the help of an experienced and proactive solicitor on my side.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Diane P

    So grateful that I contacted Redmans to deal with my Redundancy Agreement. Everything from the initial call to the completion of the matter was professional, efficient and effective. I was listened to, had everything explained simply and kept informed of every step. I received super advice and the costs were very competitive. I would highly recommend them to anyone seeking similar help. First class service - thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Chris L

    It was a very efficient and effective service - Would recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago