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Cath Everett

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Pregnant RAF officer awarded £16,000

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A female RAF officer who was removed from her post because she was pregnant has been awarded more than £16,000 by an employment tribunal.
 

In a case funded by the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the officer – who chose not to be named as she still works for the air force – was found to have suffered discrimination after her request to stay in her desk-based job in the Falkland Islands was rejected following revelations to her superiors that she was 12 weeks pregnant.
 
The decision was taken despite the fact that her husband was also an RAF officer stationed on the island. Law firm Leigh Day & Co, who represented her, told the Daily Mail that the female officer wanted to stay with her husband during her pregnancy, but was ordered to return to the UK immediately.
 
This meant that she was forced to take leave to return to the Falkland Islands to visit him, which resulted in her missing out on a performance review that, in turn, delayed her prospects of promotion.
 
The EHRC said that the way in which the officer had been treated “had the effect of creating an intimidating, degrading, hostile or offensive environment for her”, although it was not intentional on the part of her employer.
 
But the tribunal, which took place in Reading, recommended that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) carry out individual risk assessments for every pregnant woman and advised that it consider adjusting each individual’s role to enable her to remain in her post.
 
It also urged the MoD to set up a monitoring process should any pregnant woman be removed from her position and to undertake a performance appraisal for each one before they started maternity leave.
 
John Wadham, group director legal of the EHRC, said: “The Commission’s research has shown that pregnant women are the most discriminated group of people in the workforce, with 30,000 losing their jobs each year as a result of their pregnancy. This judgement should serve as a reminder of what is expected of employers in these situations.”
 

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