I’m pregnant and my employer has dismissed me for misconduct. What can I do?

An employer can fairly dismiss a pregnant employee for gross misconduct, e.g. theft or violence, but they must show there is reasonable evidence of guilt, dismissal is a reasonable sanction for the misconduct in question and the procedure is fair.

However, if you can show that the decision to dismiss you was significantly influenced by your pregnancy, you can bring a claim in the employment tribunal for pregnancy discrimination and also possibly automatically unfair dismissal.

You would have to prove facts from which the tribunal could decide, in the absence of an explanation from your employer, that you were dismissed because of your pregnancy.

Employers rarely admit racist thinking.  You may have to build up a dossier of facts which, taken together, are sufficient to show that your pregnancy could have been the reason for your dismissal.

Such facts could include:

  1. Discriminatory comments made by your employer about you or other pregnant employees.
  2. Suspicious timing – was the dismissal shortly after you announced you were pregnant?
  3. Did your employer follow their normal disciplinary procedure? g. Did they normally carry out an investigation but they didn’t in your case?
  4. Was the dismissal unreasonable in the circumstances? E.g. Was there clearly insufficient evidence of your alleged misconduct? Was the misconduct so minor that dismissal was clearly an unreasonable sanction?
  5. Were there any non-pregnant employees who committed the same misconduct but were not dismissed?
  6. Evidence of your employer’s treatment of other pregnant employees. How many pregnant employees do they employ?  Have they dismissed other pregnant employees?
  7. Failure of your employer to give their managers equal opportunities training.

Nucleus specialising in helping with discrimination cases, if you have submitted a claim already or have been dismissed in the last 3 months ring us.