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Is it discriminatory to ask an employee if her pregnancy was planned, even if made out of frustratio

A pregnant NHS administrator was discriminated against after her manager asked if her pregnancy was planned and if the cost of her maternity leave would come out of the team’s budget, a tribunal found. The comments were held to be “objectively inappropriate and upsetting” and “manifestly made because of the claimant’s pregnancy”.

The Claimant was a temporary employee and concerns had been raised about her choice of the tasks she did and the use of her mobile phone. She in turn had complained about her manager not doing their share of tasks.

The tribunal said the comments were likely made by her line manager in frustration, as she had been considering terminating the Claimant’s employment and saw the pregnancy as a barrier to doing this. That was no excuse and her claim for discrimination based on pregnancy succeeded.

However, her claim for unfair dismissal failed because the reason for her dismissal was budgetary pressures.

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