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A recent tribunal decision highlights how “stereotypical assumptions” relating to pregnancy and maternity leave will give rise to potentially successful discrimination claims.


A pregnant employee was asked for her “future plans” whilst her boss nodded towards her stomach. She’d also received remarks from another colleague that she would not return to work after her maternity leave. The tribunal held that these actions amounted to unfavourable treatment relating to her pregnancy and that her intentions and future plans “ought not to have been referred to at all”.

Practical takeaways

Back to basics – even well-intentioned questions about a return from maternity leave may be discriminatory. Unless the individual wants to discuss their future plans you must assume that they will return to their previous role with the same ambitions.

Tools and training – not all managers may be used to supporting employees with maternity leave arrangements. Ensure you set them up for success with clear and well-communicated policies and templates alongside training to deal with the practicalities.

Intelligent Employment has all the family-friendly policies and documents you need – get in touch to find out more. 


This update is accurate on the date it was published (14 February 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

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