A Guide To Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Compensation Claims

In this article, we’re specifically going to look at pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims.

There is nothing nice about being picked on, discriminated against or bullied at work. That type of victimisation or discrimination can feel a whole lot worse if it happens simply because of your age, skin colour, disability or because you are pregnant. Luckily, there are laws in place which make workplace discrimination against a number of protected characteristics illegal.

We’ll look at the definitions relating to pregnancy discrimination including unfavourable treatment and victimisation, what rights you have as a pregnant employee, and when you might be entitled to start legal proceedings against your employer.

The team of employment law solicitors on our panel have been providing support to our clients for many decades. Our service begins with a telephone assessment of your case with no obligation to make a claim. We also provide free legal advice.

If one of our advisors believes your claim is strong enough, and you are happy to proceed, you’ll be assigned to a specialist employment solicitor from our panel. If they accept your case, it will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

To discuss if you are eligible to start a maternity discrimination claim, please call us today on 0161 696 9685. To find out more about making an employment law claim before getting in touch, please continue reading.

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A Guide To Starting A Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Compensation Case

As mentioned in the first part of this article, it is illegal to discriminate against a number of characteristics in the workplace, including being pregnant or being on maternity leave. That means you could be entitled to compensation if you miss out on a promotion because you are pregnant, picked on because you’re breastfeeding or not involved in a redundancy consultation because you are on maternity leave.

Workplace pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims

Workplace pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims

In this article, we’ll provide many pregnancy discrimination examples and show you why you might be entitled to claim against your employer.

Something that you need to be aware of is that there is an employment law claims time limit which relates to maternity or pregnancy discrimination cases. Generally, your claim will need to be submitted with 3-months (minus 1-day) of the act of discrimination you would like to complain about. If you’ve suffered multiple acts of discrimination relating to your pregnancy, we’d advise you to speak to an advisor to help determine your limitation period.

As you can see, there isn’t long to start your claim. Therefore, we advise you to get in touch as soon as you’re able to. Starting the claim as early as possible will allow your solicitor time to review your case and gather any supporting evidence they require to substantiate your allegations.

When you’ve completed this article relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims, please call the number at the top of the screen to ask any questions or to begin the claims process.

What Is Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination?

Within the Equality Act 2010, several characteristics are defined as being protected. This means when you’re at work, your employer can’t discriminate against you because of, amongst other things, your ethnicity, your gender, a disability, your sexual orientation or the fact you are pregnant or on maternity leave. If they do, and you can show you were victimised or treated unfavourably, you could be able to seek compensation.

The rules relating to pregnancy discrimination are slightly different from other forms. That’s because normally you would need to show that you’ve been treated less favourably than other employees when making a claim to a tribunal. However, in the case of pregnancy discrimination (within the protected period), you don’t have to compare your case to anybody else’s. The protected period is the time from when you become pregnant to when you come back to work or your maternity leave ends.

In addition, should you be discriminated against the outside of the protected period, it is still possible to start a claim on the grounds of direct sex discrimination.

We can help you determine which type of claim you would need to make once your case has been thoroughly reviewed by a member of our team. Therefore, why not get in touch today and discuss how we could help?

Pregnant Employee Victimisation

Victimisation is another act that is banned by employment legislation. It effectively means you’ve suffered a ‘detriment’ which is something that results in you suffering a loss, damage, harm or a disadvantage because you:

  • Gave evidence in a discrimination investigation.
  • Alleged that discrimination had occurred.
  • Supported another employee’s discrimination claim.
  • Complained about discrimination.

Essentially, if you suffer because you did anything relating to the Equality Act 2010, you could have been victimised and therefore you might be entitled to seek compensation. Please let us know what happened in your case, and we’ll review your options straight away.

What Is Unfavourable Treatment Relating To Pregnancy?

The other aspect of pregnancy discrimination claims we mentioned earlier was ‘unfavourable treatment’. That means employees (or job applicants) are not allowed to be disadvantaged due to the fact they are pregnant or on maternity leave. That means you are not allowed to:

  • Be treated unfairly because you are pregnant or on maternity leave.
  • Suffer any unwanted behaviour against you because of your pregnancy.
  • Be disadvantaged by your employer’s practices, policies, rules or procedures.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of unfavourable treatment relating to your pregnancy, please get in touch and supply us with as much information as possible. We’ll review your case for free and explain how you could proceed.

How Employers Might Provide Support During Pregnancy And Maternity Leave

In this part of our article, we are going to look at what an employer could do to support pregnant workers and those returning from maternity leave.

In general, your employer should plan ahead and work with you to make any changes and think of your needs as well as those of the business.  For instance, they should:

  • Familiarise themselves with any special considerations relating to maternity leave, pregnancy and your return to work as soon as they can.
  • Be flexible about how you conduct your work. For instance, they might need to work around morning sickness, hire temporary cover while you are away on maternity leave or allow a job-share to happen when you return if needed.
  • Communicate with you regularly. This doesn’t have to just be on maternity leave, it is a good idea to catch up during pregnancy and after you’ve returned to work.

Provide Suitable Spaces For Breastfeeding

There is no law to suggest employers need to provide a space for new mothers to breastfeed. The rules are actually that any breastfeeding mother must have somewhere suitable to rest. If a place is provided for breastfeeding, Acas advise that it is safe, hygienic and private for a parent to breastfeed or express milk and somewhere cool is provided for storage.

Conducting A Workplace Risk Assessment

Employers conduct risk assessments as part of the duties under The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Part of those assessments should consider:

  • Any risks to pregnant staff and the baby they are carrying.
  • Employees who are breastfeeding or have become a parent within the previous 6-months.

If you believe you’ve suffered an injury because your pregnancy wasn’t considered in risk assessments, you might be entitled to make a personal injury claim if you’re injured, or an employment law claim if discriminated against.

Pregnant Employees’ Rights In The Workplace

As a pregnant employee, you have some important legal rights. They are:

  • Time off for maternity leave.
  • A maternity allowance or maternity pay.
  • Protection against unfair treatment, dismissal or discrimination.
  • Time off work for antenatal care which is paid.

You should be aware that antenatal care does not just relate to medical appointments with a doctor or midwife. You can also request paid time off work to attend parenting classes if your medical team have advised you to use them. Your employer must grant you the time off and pay you at your normal level.

If you would like our help with pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims, please get in touch with our team today.

Pregnancy And Maternity Leave Pay And Conditions

We’ll now take a look at when you should be allowed time away from work for maternity leave, how much you should be paid and what protection from redundancy you are entitled to.

Rights To Maternity Pay

Some employers offer better maternity pay options than are listed here so you should check your employment contract for further details. In relation to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), you will likely be paid the following:

  • During the first 6 weeks of your maternity leave, you will be paid 90% of your normal average salary (before any tax is deducted).
  • During the next 33-weeks of your maternity leave, you will be paid the lower amount of either 90% of your normal salary (before any tax) or £151.20.

When you are paid SMP, it will be sent in the normal way i.e. if you are paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, your payment will be sent at the same intervals. Any tax or National Insurance deductions will be taken before your SMP is sent and payments will usually start once your maternity leave begins.

Entitlement To Maternity Leave

As described in the previous section, you can receive SMP for 39-weeks in total. However, the statutory maternity leave period is 52-weeks. It’s important to note that every employee is entitled to maternity leave as it is a legal requirement from your first day of employment.

The way in which maternity leave is set up is as follows:

  • The first 26-weeks of your leave is called Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML).
  • The next 26-weeks are called Additional Maternity Leave (AML).

There is an important difference between the two which could have an impact on your return to work.

When going back to work after OML, you have to be given your old job back. After returning to work after AML, you can return to your old job but if that is not reasonably practical for your employer, they need to offer you appropriate and similar employment. When this happens, you should not lose any seniority, your pension should not be affected and nor should your employment terms.

Redundancy Protection During Pregnancy And Maternity Leave

While you are away from work during maternity leave, if your company begins a redundancy process, you might be made redundant but only if the company sticks to strict redundancy rules.

That means your company can’t pick you as of the redundancies just because you’re on maternity leave or pregnant. That would effectively become a case of discrimination due to pregnancy.

Additionally, pregnant women who are on maternity leave are protected to a certain point during redundancy periods. This means employers who have a suitable alternative role within the organisation could prioritise pregnant employees over others when deciding who will be redeployed within the business.

If you believe you have a valid claim relating to redundancy, discrimination or your employment rights haven’t been upheld during pregnancy, please let us know and we’ll start a no-obligation review of your claim.

Calculating Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Compensation

The way in which compensation is awarded for discrimination in the workplace differs from other types of compensation claims. The amounts awarded by tribunals take into account different factors such as your salary and how you have been affected. To give you some idea of the amounts employment tribunals have awarded recently, please see the following table.

Average Tribunal CompensationMaximum Tribunal Compensation
Unfair dismissal claims£13,704£947,585
Discrimination based on beliefs or religion£4,767£12,000
Discrimination based on gender£8,774£24,103
Discrimination based on race or ethnicity.£12,487£33,660
Discrimination based on your age£26,148£172,070
Discrimination based on a disability.£28,371£416,015

Remember, not all claims have to go to a tribunal. In some cases, our panel of solicitors are able to discuss your case directly with your employer. If they admit liability for the discrimination against you, it might be possible for a mutually agreeable settlement to be achieved.

One of the solicitors on our panel could provide you with a personalised compensation estimate once they have reviewed all aspects of your claim with you. Therefore, why not get in touch today to see how much your claim might be worth?

Using Contingency Fee Agreements To Fund Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Claims

Rather than having to find the money to pay a solicitor to take on a maternity discrimination claim, the solicitors on our panel provide a No Win No Fee solution for any claim they take on.

If the solicitor is happy that your claim could be won, they will draft a Contingency Fee Agreement (CFA) that will fund your claim. This is a contract that explains the claims process and what work will be carried out for you. It will also show you that:

  • No payment is required upfront.
  • You won’t have to pay any solicitor’s fees or charges during the claim.
  • If the claim doesn’t work out, you won’t be charged any solicitor’s fees at all.

When a claim is determined in your favour, and you are compensated, your solicitor will deduct a percentage of the settlement amount to cover the cost of their work. The ‘success fee’ is limited by law and so you know the amount you’ll pay before you sign up to work with the solicitor, it is listed in the CFA clearly.

If you would like to know more about your eligibility to use our No Win No Fee service, speak to a team member today.

Eligibility For Pregnancy Or Maternity Discrimination Compensation

Being pregnant or on maternity leave is one of the protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010, which means it is illegal to discriminate against you for either reason.

The time in which pregnancy discrimination protection occurs is known as the ‘protected period’ which starts when you become pregnant. It ends when your maternity leave finishes or when you return to work (whichever is sooner).

If you can show that you have been victimised or treated unfavourably (as described earlier), you could be entitled to start a compensation claim. If the discrimination happens outside of the protected period, you could still be entitled to claim for direct sex discrimination rather than pregnancy discrimination.

If you are not sure what type of claim you need to make, please explain what has happened to one of our advisors and they will explain your options.

Why Start A Maternity Or Pregnancy Discrimination Case With Legal Helpline?

We do hope that the details we have supplied so far have shown that Legal Helpline is able to support you with starting a claim. Here are some good reasons why you might want to work with us:

  • Our claims line is open 24-hours a day and you’ll receive completely free legal advice.
  • We assess any claim for free without any obligation for you to continue.
  • If your claim is taken on, you will be connected with an employment tribunal solicitor from our panel. Our team have been representing clients for decades.
  • Not only will your solicitor let you know about any progress regularly, but they will also be there to answer any queries you might have as the case continues.
  • Ultimately, the solicitors on our panel will always aim to ensure you are compensated fully.

To find out more about how we are able to help you start a pregnancy discrimination claim, please call the team today.

Start Your Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Case

Thanks for reading the information we have supplied so far relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims. If you’ve decided that you’d like to appoint an employment tribunal solicitor from our panel, you can reach us by:

To start the ball rolling when you get in touch, an advisor will listen to the details of your case. They will also review any evidence that you can supply such as emails or letters from your employer.

During the review, you’ll be supplied with free legal advice so you can decide whether to make a claim or not. If the case appears strong enough, we could connect you to one of the specialist employment lawyers on our panel to help you. Please remember, any claim they agree to take on will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

Related Resources For Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Compensation Claims

You have reached our final section in this article about lodging pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims. Therefore, we are now going to supply you with links to a few additional guides, as well as some external articles, which could prove useful.

Workplace Accident Claims – A guide about when you might be entitled to claim for injuries you have sustained at work.

Birth Injury Claims – Details on why compensation could be paid if you or your baby are injured due to negligence during birth.

Slip Trip And Falls – Advice on starting a compensation claim for injuries that have resulted from a fall.

Pregnancy And Maternity Rights Resources

Pregnant Employee Rights – A government article that sets out the rights of a pregnant member of staff.

Maternity Discrimination – An Acas article on what constitutes pregnancy or maternity discrimination.

Statutory Maternity Leave – Information for employers regarding how much leave and pay staff are entitled to.

Thank you for reading our guide to pregnancy and maternity discrimination compensation claims.


Guide by BH

Edited by REB