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Mills & Reeve: HR Law Live

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Michelle Wenham

Interestingly it is however easy for employers to wait until an employee returns from maternity but physically is off on annual leave she accrued during maternity leave . Not sure how you can completely protect pregnant women from unscrupulous employers

Charles Pigott

Thanks for your comment Michelle. I agree that discrimination against pregnant women (or indeed any other protected group) can never be completely eliminated. However in my view the fewer the anomalies in the law that seeks to protect them the better.
In relation to your point about waiting until after the protected period, a returning women still of course has the protection of the general law against sex discrimination, though I agree that in many cases this may be difficult to prove. In addition there would be the possibility of bringing a claim for automatically unfair dismissal, if the employee could show that she was singled out because she had taken maternity leave.

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