Pregnancy and maternity discrimination

The law relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination is governed by the Equality Act 2010. The core provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which repealed the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, came into force on 1 October 2010. While the Equality Act 2010 largely consolidated previous discrimination legislation, it also designated pregnancy and maternity as a protected characteristic in its own right.

The Equality Act 2010 specifically protects women against direct discrimination and victimisation because of the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity. While there are no specific provisions in the Equality Act 2010 for indirect discrimination and harassment in relation to pregnancy and maternity, a woman can claim sex discrimination in these cases. For example, many indirect sex discrimination cases are connected with the refusal of employers to allow women returning from maternity leave to work part time.


Pregnant woman in office

Employee wins pregnancy discrimination case

A woman has won a claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination after resigning from her job because of her employer's attitude toward her pregnancy.

MP seeks to rescue new mums’ redundancy protection plans

21 May 2019

The government is accused of dragging its feet over protections for new mothers as a private member's bill is introduced in the House of Commons...

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pregnant workers health

Employers ‘failing to take pregnant workers’ health seriously’

15 May 2019

Employers need to do “far more” to protect the health and wellbeing of pregnant staff, with travel commitments and irregular...

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Top 10 HR questions April 2019: Maximum compensation, holiday entitlement and positive action

2 May 2019

The annual increase to the limits on compensation that can be awarded in an...

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Employers should publish new mum retention rates, MPs urge

1 May 2019

Large organisations should be forced to publish retention rates for new mothers returning to the workplace in order to tackle...

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Removing pregnant police officer from front line was discrimination

18 Mar 2019

A case where a pregnant police officer was taken away from front line duties and placed in a desk-based role ...

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Tricky sickness issues – employers’ questions answered (webinar available on demand)

4 Mar 2019

Tuesday 26 March 2019, 11:00am GMT
Handling the tricky issues that can arise when an employee is on sick leave...

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New mums to receive six months more redundancy protection

25 Jan 2019

Pregnant women and new mothers returning to work after having children are to receive greater protection from being treated unfairly,...

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The 10 most important employment law cases in 2018

11 Jan 2019

As always, HR professionals had their fair share of employment law cases to keep track of in 2018, but what...

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Five lesser known maternity rights women must be aware of

20 Aug 2018

With statistics suggesting autumn is the most popular season to give birth, Beverley Sunderland clarifies some lesser known maternity rights...

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Women facing routine workplace bias; warning issued on rights after Brexit

23 Jul 2018

Survey figures released last week indicate that women are routinely discriminated against at small and medium-sized businesses in the UK...

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Most employers say applicants should disclose pregnancy

19 Feb 2018

Six in 10 employers (59%) believe a woman should have to reveal she is pregnant during the recruitment process, according...

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More protection needed against sexual harassment by third parties

23 Jan 2018

The law should be strengthened to protect women from sexual harassment by third parties, as well as colleagues, a gender...

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Pregnant women and new mothers need more legal protection

7 Nov 2017

A charity has called for greater legal protections for new mothers, claiming the Government has failed to act on the...

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HR horrors: How to flee four frightening scenarios

31 Oct 2017

Halloween is upon us, but what are the most common HR horrors and how should employers deal with them? Alexandra...

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