Thank you. The starting point is that as she has less than 2 years’ service, she will not be protected against unfair dismissal. So you can dismiss her for more or less any reason, however you must ensure that they are not discriminatory in nature. So this is where the potential issue arises. Pregnancy is a protected characteristic so if you dismiss because of that, it will amount to discrimination. It certainly does not mean that you cannot dismiss a pregnant employee but you must be satisfied that the reasons for dismissal are not related to her pregnancy, including because of pregnancy-related absence.
So if she is performing poorly or has been guilty of some form of misconduct and these are not in any way elated to her pregnancy, you could potentially use them to dismiss her. However, it would be easy for her to try and claim that you did this just because she was pregnant and these were sham reasons which you just used in the circumstances. Whatever you do, there will be risks and it is unfortunate but pregnant employees do get a lot of protection.
In the first instance you should be clear on the reasons which you wish to use to potentially dismiss and ensure that they have no relevance on the fact she is pregnant – so do not include anything which is linked to her absences on pregnancy-related grounds or performance which may be affected by the fact she is pregnant. If you are confident you have sufficient grounds to do so and that they cannot be linked to her pregnancy you can potentially dismiss her, but just be aware that it won’t stop her from trying to argue your decision was because of her pregnancy. That is why you need to ensure you have good evidence to back up your decision.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to take to dismiss her, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you