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 The core provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which repealed the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, came into force on 1 October 2010.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.


Top 10 HR questions August 2019: term-time holiday calculations

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A recent Court of Appeal decision, The...

One in eight reluctant to hire women who may become pregnant

22 Aug 2019

One in eight (12%) employers would be reluctant to hire a woman who could become pregnant and one in seven...

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Top 10 HR questions July 2019: Spent convictions

5 Aug 2019

There are limits to the circumstances in which employers can take a candidate’s past criminal convictions into account when deciding...

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New parents and expectant mothers to receive more redundancy protections

25 Jul 2019

The legal protections for pregnant women and new mothers are to be extended to six months after they return to...

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Pregnant woman in office

Employee wins pregnancy discrimination case

24 May 2019

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.

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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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