Can a Job Fire You For Being Pregnant?
Pregnancy is a cause of much joy, but it can also be a source of worry and stress for those who aren’t sure what their work rights are when it comes to being pregnant. Many people are concerned and afraid that they may be discriminated against or fired if their employer finds out they are expecting.
Fortunately, the UK has laws in place to protect pregnant women and their rights in the workplace. Employees’ rights to maternity leave and protection from being dismissed on the basis of pregnancy are outlined in the Employment Rights Act 1996. Specifically, the Act states:
- It is illegal for an employer to dismiss someone for a reason related to their pregnancy.
- Employers are required to make reasonable changes to a pregnant employee’s job in order to accommodate and help protect their health.
It is important to note, however, that these laws apply to employees, not to those on contracts such as freelancers, agency workers, and those on zero-hour contracts.
If an employee feels like their pregnancy has caused them to be treated unfairly or that their employer has violated the Employment Rights Act, then they can take action. Employees can make a formal complaint to their employer. They can also contact an advice agency like Citizens Advice or ACAS for help, who may be able to help them negotiate with their employer. Alternatively, they may choose to take their employer to an employment tribunal.
In summary, while it can be a worrying time to be pregnant while at work, fortunately, the law is on your side. Pregnant women have certain rights under the Employment Rights Act, which are designed to protect them from being dismissed or treated unfairly due to their pregnancy. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, it is important to take action and seek the advice of organisations such as Citizens Advice or ACAS.