international employment law firm alliance L&E Global
United Kingdom

UK: Pregnancy discrimination – Does an employer who has decided to dismiss an employee have to revisit or revoke that decision if it is subsequently informed that she is pregnant?

The employer decided to dismiss Ms Thompson during her probationary period because of her emotional volatility and because she did not fit in with their work ethic. The employer did not tell her this straight away and before they did, Ms Thompson told them that she was pregnant. The employer went ahead with Mr Thompson’s dismissal. She brought claims for unfair dismissal by reason of pregnancy and pregnancy discrimination.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that in order for the Claimant to be successful in her claims, the employer must have known, or believed, that she was pregnant when it made the decision to dismiss. Given that the Employment Tribunal had accepted that the employer made its decision to dismiss before Ms Thompson notified it of her pregnancy and was unrelated to them, Ms Thompson had not been unfairly dismissed or discriminated against by reason of her pregnancy.

This case provides useful clarification for employers that there is no positive obligation to revisit or overturn a decision to dismiss made before it had knowledge of an employee’s pregnancy.

Really Easy Car Credit Ltd v Thompson UKEAT/0197/17.