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: 50197
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

hi, i am 16 weeks pregnant and my employer has started hounding

This answer was rated:

hi, i am 16 weeks pregnant and my employer has started hounding me with threats of disciplinary action for poor work (telesales) performance. i have worked there for 7 months and although i have not hit my (unreasonable) targets (no-one else does either!), it was when i informed my boss of my pregnancy that she has started to threaten me with this action. i have been signed off work by my doctor on stress grounds.what should i do now? I have collected evidence of the 5 emails she has sent to me. i do not know whether to go back into work or ask to be signed off again but i already have pregnancy complications and am feeling desperately worried about going back in and being treated so badly. do i need her to dismiss me before i have any grounds to take action? my maternity leave could start as early as 13th May and i do not wish to return to this job when my maternity leave finishes. thank you for your help

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.have you had regular one to ones with your line manager.


i should have had a one-to-one with my line manager every week but often this has not happened. since i announced my pregnancy, the business owner has frequently listened to my calls and called me in to discuss my performance - at least three times per week since announcing my pregnancy and never before this.

Ben Jones :

OK thank you, XXXXX XXXXX it with me. I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready. I will post back on here when done. There is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.



ok thank you

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. Whilst generally you would not have any protection against unfair dismissal until you have at least 2 years’ service with your employer, if you are being treated detrimentally or dismissed due to your pregnancy or impending maternity leave, that would amount to discrimination and you would be protected regardless of the length of service you have.


If the employer cannot justify why you are being treated that way and the timings are all too suspicious where this treatment started just when you announced your pregnancy, then discrimination is indeed a possibility in this case.


You do not have to wait to be dismissed before you can take any action and your options are as follows:

  • At any point you are free to raise a formal grievance in relation to this and the employer would have to deal with it formally and investigate your complaint

  • At any point, but within 3 months of the alleged discriminatory act occurring, you can also make a claim for discrimination in the employment tribunal. You can do this whilst till employed by the employer

  • If you are dismissed, then you can make a claim for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination, again it must be made within 3 months of your dismissal.


These are your options for now and you can also remind the employer that they need to conduct risk assessments in relation to your pregnancy and ensure you are not placed under undue stress or asked to do things that may affect your health at this important stage.

Customer: Having seen my doctor last week who felt I should not be put under the level of stress I am experiencing, pregnant or not, I am sure I would be signed off sick if necessary until my maternity leave begins. Is there any legal reason to avoid doing this? It is a small business where I have daily contact with the business owner so I'm not sure how else I could avoid undue stress. Many thanks for your advice,
Ben Jones :

The employer has a duty to reduce and if possible, avoid stress...and if that is not possible they can medically suspend the employee to remove them from this situation, and your rights should not be affected if that happensc

Customer: So it is better if they decide to send me off sick rather than me simply staying off with a doctors note
Customer: It is unlikely hey would do this as it's a hot house sales environment with a ruthless, heartless owner!
Ben Jones :

the issue is they may not do that so you could be waiting for something that may never happen - whilst this is what they should do, that does not mean they will do it so in the end you may have to get signed off instead.

Customer: Ok thanks for this, it is much appreciated. Best wishes
Ben Jones :

You are most welcome, all the best

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you