Managing maternity leave – how not to do it

Mon 4th Apr 2016

Philip Sayers comments on a recent tribunal in which someone won a case against her former employee who dismissed her after she announced her pregnancy.

“This tribunal stands out as a shocking example of something that should never happen. The employee, Rachel Skeffington, was working as a pub manager when she became pregnant. The tribunal heard that when she told her employer the news, his response was to swear and tell her not to expect any maternity pay. Other events followed, including the employer making offensive and inappropriate comments about her pregnancy and encouraging customers to join in. She was then criticised for attending a scan before she was dismissed.

“Her employer told her that her dismissal was a result of poor timekeeping and her inability to keep the pub cellar tidy, but there was no evidence to back this up. The tribunal resulted in Ms Skeffington being awarded £17,000.

“Dismissing someone because they are pregnant is discrimination. An employee who is expecting a baby should be treated in exactly the same way as any other member of staff. Contrary to urban myths, it is not impossible to dismiss a pregnant employee. However, it is the case that pregnancy should never play any part in the reason for dismissing someone. If you are faced with having to take disciplinary action as the result of performance of an employee who is due to go on maternity leave, it is essential that there is no connection with this and their pregnancy.”

For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers on 0800 328 3282 or email

Mon 4th Apr 2016

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