gender dismissal

Gender Dismissal Discrimination

An employee who is pregnant cannot be treated adversely on the grounds of their pregnancy and gender discrimination is prohibited by the Equality Acts legislation.

There is special protection afforded to a pregnant employee at European and hence Irish law and in Webb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd [1994] ECR 1-3567, Brown v Rentokil Ltd [1998] ECR 1-04185 and Dekker v Stichting Vormingscentrum [1990] ECR 1-3941 it was concluded that the entire period of pregnancy and maternity is considered a special protected period.

If an employer was to dismiss a pregnant employee during this time period then they would need very persuasive evidence the dismissal was wholly unrelated to the pregnancy.

The burden of proof in these matters is on the employer to demonstrate the dismissal related to exceptional circumstances wholly unrelated to the maternity leave or pregnancy itself.

If a case officer comes to a decision that discrimination arose, they will likely consider the effects of the discrimination on the person, and have due regard to Article 17 of the framework directive which states the sanction should be ‘’effective, dissuasive, and proportionate’’ which can include higher awards for discrimination cases.


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