Before starting a job it is not unusual for pregnant women to suffer workplace discrimination.
When a job offer is made but then withdrawn after the successful candidate discloses her pregnancy, this indicates discrimination, and is useful evidence in a claim for compensation.
You are within your rights in choosing not to disclose your pregnancy at interview stage. The law does not say you have to do this. Instead, you may prefer to give notice at a later date of your need to take maternity leave, or for health and safety reasons because of the environment in which you will be working.
Employers must carry out a risk assessment for pregnant workers. If the assessment highlights any risks then these must be managed by controlling them, reducing them or removing them altogether. This could be as simple as a change to the expectant mother’s duties that might be a risk to the health of their baby and of themselves.
Clearly, it depends on the nature of the job.
Withdrawing a job because you are pregnant is pregnancy discrimination. Having a job offer taken away after disclosing information about your pregnancy is useful to prove a discrimination claim. It is much more helpful evidence than if the job had simply not been offered to you at all, since it shows that you met the requirements and the difference in treatment is only because of your pregnancy.
If you find yourself in this situation it is recommended that you make a note of everything that occurred before getting in touch with a maternity discrimination solicitor. Ensure you write down everything that happened in as much detail as you can remember and be sure to include times, dates and any written evidence you might have such as email correspondence.
It is a breach of contract for an employer to withdraw a job offer from you after you have accepted. You are within your rights to sue the employer if you have suffered as a result of the job offer being retracted. This could be the case if you left your old job for the new one that was then taken away.
Samantha Mangwana is an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon in London.
If you think you may have a case of maternity discrimination at interview stage call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.