0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

redundancy selection: Is it a boy or a girl?

12 April 2011

Under the Equality Act 2010 (schedule 7 para 2 ) women on maternity leave can be given ‘special treatment … in connection with pregnancy or childbirth’. This would not amount to sex discrimination against men.

So in a redundancy selection process which involved assessing performance at a specified date, you might think giving a woman on maternity leave the maximum score while scoring the man on his actual performance would not be sex discrimination. Is that not just giving the woman on maternity leave ‘special treatment’, which the law allows?

Not according to the EAT. The special treatment must be proportionate. In this case, the woman scored higher than the man because she was on maternity leave. There were fairer ways of avoiding disadvantage to women on maternity leave, such as assessing performance as at the last date they both worked.

The moral may be that employers who imagine that risk of pregnancy/maternity discrimination claims gets less the better they treat those on maternity leave are just leaping from one frying pan into another!

related opinions

Employment tribunal changes ahead

There is currently a backlog of employment tribunals – with the number of cases being dealt with rising by 26% since March, and expected to continue to rise with the end of the current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme next month.

View blog

Is it reasonable to dismiss an employee without any prior procedure being followed as a result of a breakdown in relations?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the Employment Tribunal’s (ET) finding that a dismissal may be fair despite no prior procedure being followed.

View blog

Furloughed employees entitled to full pay for redundancy purposes

The government has brought in new legislation to ensure that any employees who have been furloughed will have their statutory redundancy pay calculated based on their full-time wages as opposed their furloughed pay in the event that they are made redundant.

View blog

Return to work – all change or more of the same?

The Government has announced that its workplace guidance will change with effect from 1 August and its “work from home” message will be removed.

View blog

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up