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Does you sick note mention anything regarding the actual sickness you have been experiencing?
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Many thanks for your patience. As you are pregnant you will have additional protection, more than what a normal employee would get, especially if the reasons you are off sick are pregnancy-related.
If an employee is treated unfavourably during their pregnancy because of a pregnancy-related illness, this will amount to unlawful pregnancy and maternity discrimination and any resultant dismissal will be automatically unfair. The law therefore states that any pregnancy-related absence should be ignored.
They may try and claim that the reason for taking action is because they believe you are working in the shop. However, without any evidence and based on the fact they have indicated that they want you back to work but you are unable to because of pregnancy issues, means that any decision they take to discipline or dismiss may be unfair and discriminatory. Whilst there is nothing stopping them from dismissing you, you will have protection against this and can take the matter further if necessary. In the meantime you should remind them of the rights you have under discrimination laws (Equality Act 2010) and that they should not treat you detrimentally because of your pregnancy.
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Thank you. If this results in dismissal, an appeal can be submitted to the employer straight after the outcome is communicated. If the appeal is rejected a claim for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination can be made in the employment tribunal. The time limit to claim is 3 months from the date of dismissal.
A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.
If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.
The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:
In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.