How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50170
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

My Friend is a dentist and she recently fell pregnant. Her

Customer Question

My Friend is a dentist and she recently fell pregnant. Her boss at her practice has given her a termination letter of employment, last friday, with 3 months notice. Citing that two complaints were made against her by patients. on both occasions it was proved that the dentist was not at fault. Her boss, believes its "too much of a headache to deal with" she has been working there for over 2 years and has a great record, with patients and colleagues alike. We feel that the letter the termination is due to the pregnancy, which the boss, said he had no knowledge of. my friend mentioned it to him, when he handed her the termination letter. The practice manager and other staff members, have known about the pregnancy for several weeks. so, there is a good chance that the news of the pregnancy was passed to him in the last few weeks.
She has a contract with the practice but is still self employed. we believe that he feels that it would be headache for him to find replacement staff, which she is on maternity leave. so, he would rather get rid of her.
By the dental body which she pays into she would get 6 months maternity pay but that is only if she is in employment when she leaves for maternity. if she is sacked, then she has no right to claim the monies.

she just wants to stay on until her time, to leave for maternity comes upon her and not be forced out be this termination notice. as she stands to lose out on 6 months of maternity pay.

Please advise if she has a case to remain to stay on.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know if the maternity pay entitlement is still something she is eligible to receive if she is self employed rather than an employee?

PS: I am due in meetings shortly so may not respond immediately, thanks for your patience
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The local health authority pays for the six months of maternity pay.


In this case its the Walsall primary Care Trust.


im not from the medical industry but this is the standard. As its the local authority which provides the funding for the practice as it is primarily a NHS based Dental Practice.


You have to be working for the practice for a certain time period and she has completed that period already.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  taratill replied 5 years ago.
Hello do you still require assistance with this?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

yes please

Expert:  taratill replied 5 years ago.
Hello if her contract has been terminated because she is pregnant then this amounts to direct discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

She should submit a grievance on this basis. If her contract is not reinstated she can claim in the employment tribunal and if the employer cannot prove a non pregnancy related reason she will win.

Hopefully raising the grievance will lead the employer to reconsider. It is ridiculous for the employer to bring up past issues on finding that she is pregnant. On this basis if what you say this would amount to discrimination.

Please remember to give positive feedback I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Hi sorry about the delay in responding. Whilst it is true that a dismissal simply because the person had become pregnant is likely to amount to sex discrimination, there is an important issue here of the employer not having been officially notified of the pregnancy.

For discrimination to occur, the unfavourable act (in this case the dismissal) must have been because of her pregnancy, or for a reason relating to her pregnancy.

As the employer had not been officially notified of her pregnancy they could actually try and argue that they did not know that she was pregnant and that her dismissal had nothing to do with her pregnancy.

There is actually some case law that has backed up the employer in such situations, for example Dentons Directories Ltd v Hobbs, Eildon Ltd v Sharkey and Del Monte Foods v Mundon. So it is possible for the employer to defend such a claim if they can actually convince the tribunal that they had another fair reason for dismissing her.

Saying that, once she brings in a claim and there is enough information for the tribunal to consider that she has been potentially discriminated, it would then be for the employer to prove that they had not discriminated against her. So in effect it would still be for the employer to justify they had acted fairly in this case, which they may fail to do.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating as that is a very important part of our process. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you