Employers obligations during pregnancy | Unfavourable treatment, bullying and harassment

The Equality Act say that protection from pregnancy discrimination is only for women who are pregnant. However, European law says that a person can be protected from associative discrimination. That is when a person is treated less favourably because of their association with a person with a particular characteristic that is protected from discrimination by law, for example where they are treated less favourably because they are caring for their disabled child. It is not clear whether this would apply in the case of pregnancy discrimination, but it may do. If you took a man's responsibilities away in these circumstances it may be unlawful sex discrimination if you would not have treated a woman in the same way. It would be unlawful to treat the man badly for taking (or because you think he is going to take) shared parental leave.  Because the law is not clear on this point, you should think very carefully and take legal advice before treating a person less favourably because of their partner's pregnancy.

You should provide regular training on managing pregnancy and maternity at work. This should not be limited to when an employee is pregnant.

Have a clear written policy on harassment and bullying that you are willing to enforce by taking disciplinary action against employees who do harass or bully.

Last updated: 12 May 2016