Do not force pregnant women to work at a desk: Employment Tribunal ruling

A policewoman was stripped of her front-line roles and given desk-bound duties because of her pregnancy and has since won a sex discrimination case against her employer. Thepolice officer was reportedly considered to be fit to continue working, according to a risk assessment carried out by her boss on the day of finding out that she was pregnant.

She was content to make some adjustments to her role including wearing plain clothes and restricting the number of night shift to “assist with tiredness”, though she made it explicitly clear to her employer that she wanted to stay on front-line duties – an employment tribunal heard.

However, her employer went against her wishes and forced her into an office role as they thought it was “safe and suitable for a pregnant woman”.  Employers are required to undertake a risk assessment when women are pregnant, in conjunction with the woman, to determine any perceived risk and to establish if (and what) any reasonable adjustments are required but they cannot force job changes on a woman simply because she is “perceived” to be at risk.

She told the employment tribunal that shortly after she was signed off work with depression and anxiety, all of which she attributed to her forced role change. The employment tribunal ruled that she had been discriminated against both due to her sex and pregnancy. An award hearing is being held to determine the value of the award for the employee.

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