Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity under the Equality Act 2010

What does the Act prohibit?

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits direct discrimination and victimisation on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity.

What is direct discrimination?

Direct discrimination occurs where a person treats another person less favourably than he or she treats or would treat others on grounds of pregnancy and/ or maternity. This includes the less favourable treatment of a woman who is breast-feeding.

Indirect discrimination and harassment are not prohibited by the Act. However, such conduct could amount to direct discrimination.

What is victimisation?

Victimisation occurs where a person is subjected to a detriment by reason of the fact that he has (or it is believed that he has or may) carried out one of the following acts:

  • brought or given evidence or information in proceedings brought under the Act;

  • the doing of something for the purposes of or in connection with the Act.

  • made an allegation that a person has contravened the Act.

However, the giving of false evidence or information, or the making of a false allegation is not protected by the Act if it is given or made in bad faith.

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For more information on:

  • In what circumstances does the Act apply?
  • Employment
  • Other situations
  • How is the Act enforced?