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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47341
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a very small business looking to appoint a part time

Resolved Question:

I am a very small business looking to appoint a part time worker. I advertised and interviewed and I have just made a verbal offer of part time employment. The sucessfull candidate has advised me that she is five weeks pregnant, but that she would still like to take up the post. I would like to withdraw the verbal offer for a couple of reasons, firstly, she will take a few months of training and at the point of completion I would be looking to rely on her availability coming up to the busiest period for me, which is why I wanted to hire now, and she would be going off on maternity, leaving me back at square one. Also, I would have concerns that there are some aspects of the post that she would not be able to fulfill if pregnant, such as heavy lifting and loading. As a protected characteristic, would I have objective justification for withdrawing the offer. We have not discussed start dates and she has not given notice to her current employer.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is there another job she could do whilst pregnant that is not manual for example?
Customer:

There are a variety of roles and responsibilities within the job description, but the lifting and loading is an integral part of the daily job.

Ben Jones :

You are in very tricky territory as the prospective employee is pregnant and you could be guilty of discrimination if you were to withdraw the offer now that you know of her position. The issue is that you are most likely guilty of direct discrimination because you are directly discriminating against the employee on grounds of a protected characteristic – you are directly stating you do not wish to employ her because she is pregnant and you will not be able to replace her. There is no objective justification defence for direct discrimination. It is unfortunate that the employee will go off when they have completed their training and are ready to start the main job but that in itself is not a good enough reason to withdraw the offer. The employee will be discriminated just because they are pregnant o you would need to make arrangements for this occurrence by planning ahead and if necessary getting a temporary replacement to cover this person when they go off. Similarly, with the manual handling – you do have a duty to mitigate the risks the employee could be exposed to and you cannot just retract the offer because part of her job, even if an integral part of it, is manual handling. You will have to find her other non-manual work to do so if that is not possible – suspend her on medical grounds but you still have to pay her. So your reasons will not really be sufficient to justify withdrawing the offer unfortunately – it is rather difficult to justify such a decision in the circumstances.

Ben Jones :

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer:

Thank you.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Customer:

Having trouble with the rating button! It doesn't seem to want to work as it says you haven't finished answering!

Ben Jones :

sorry sometimes there is a delay in enabling it and making it work, you can just type in your choice on here instead, thanks

Customer:

OK. Good service :)

Ben Jones :

thank you

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