Pregnancy ‘played a part’ in redundancy decision – discrimination ruling

Maternity leave is every expectant mother’s entitlement and, if you feel that you have suffered pregnancy discrimination, you should contact a solicitor without delay. The point was powerfully made by the case of a woman whose pregnancy played a part in her employer’s decision to make her redundant.

Having twice become pregnant, the woman took successive periods of maternity leave which together lasted over two years. Not long after returning to work, she became pregnant for a third time and asked for arrangements to be made for a further period of maternity leave. The decision to dismiss her on grounds of redundancy followed about two months later.

After she launched proceedings, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that the main or principal reason for her dismissal was indeed redundancy. A decision having been taken not to progress the line of work in which she was involved, she was effectively in a pool of one and was not selected for redundancy because of her pregnancy. Her dismissal was thus not automatically unfair.

In nevertheless upholding her ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal complaint, the ET found that there was no genuine or meaningful consultation process prior to the redundancy decision. The process involved merely going through the motions and was effectively a box-ticking exercise. There was a failure to give due consideration to whether there was a suitable alternative position that she could fill.

Also upholding her pregnancy discrimination claim under the Equality Act 2010, the ET found that she had established facts from which, in the absence of an alternative explanation, it was possible to conclude that her pregnancy played a part in her dismissal. The evidence gave rise to an inference that she would have been treated differently had she not been pregnant. If not agreed, the amount of her compensation would be assessed at a further hearing.

Yasin v Swift Lawyers Limited. Case Number: 2407552/2021