Unfair dismissal: warning for pregnancy related sickness

A law firm’s pregnant employee was granted a £23,000 pay-out after being fired for taking two days off with severe morning sickness. Manchester-based solicitors Gowing Law sacked the employee just a week after she started her new job as a full-time administrator. The employee was successful in her claim for unfair dismissal and pregnancy related discrimination in the employment tribunal.

Dismissals for reasons connected to pregnancy or childbirth are ‘automatically unfair’ and therefore the employee does not need to have the requisite two years’ service in order to bring a claim.

In this case there was also a 20% uplift of compensation awarded, because the employer failed to follow the ACAS Code of Conduct. This is an important reminder to follow a formal process before deciding to dismiss, even if it is in the case of a new employee. If you are in any way unsure, you
should take legal advice.