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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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    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

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    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

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    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 3 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 3 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

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    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 3 months ago

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    Excellent service.

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    Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

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