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Redundancy of Pregnant Employees Case Update

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Redundancy of Pregnant Employees Case Update

Redundancy of Pregnant Employees Case Update

The Claimant, Miss Lau (“Lau”), was employed by the Respondent, Serco Leisure Operating Ltd (“Serco”). Serco was in the process of undertaking a review of the company structure and Lau was at risk of redundancy. Lau announced to Serco at this time that she was pregnant.

During the consultation process, Lau applied for an alternative position within Serco but was unsuccessful. Therefore, Lau applied for a further two positions but was on pregnancy related sick leave when the interviews were due to take place and could not attend them. Therefore, Serco took Lau’s ratings from the previous job application and applied it to these roles. Lau was unsuccessful with her applications for these roles and was consequently dismissed by reason of redundancy.

Lau issued a claim against Serco for unfair dismissal and pregnancy related discrimination under section 18 of the Equality Act 2010 (“EQA 2010”). This was dismissed by the Employment Tribunal (“ET”) who held that the reason for dismissal was not pregnancy related. The ET did hold however, that Lau had been subjected to unfavourable treatment because her pregnancy had influenced the decision to use a method of selection for the two positions which she was unable to attend the interviews for.

Serco appealed against the ET’s decision. The Employment Appeal Tribunal allowed the appeal concluding that the ET had failed to correctly apply the tests with regards to the burden of proof under section 136 of the EQA 2010, specifically, failing to identify exactly the acts carried about by Serco which amounted to unfavourable treatment and whether it related to the protected characteristic (pregnancy).

If you would like further information on this topic, please contact Millie Kempley or call the employment team on 0345 070 6000.