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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50157
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have a question regarding pregnancy at work. A colleague

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Hi I have a question regarding pregnancy at work.
A colleague on my team has informed us she is 12/13wks pregnant - under our companies 'risk assessment' they are now saying she can not fulfilled her duties as a swimming teacher (on pool side or in the water) until her doctor provides a letter to say she's happy with the 'risks' she could be subjected to, namely humid environment / slip trip hazard.
This is not her first pregnancy and she is frustrated as she has worked right up to 40wks when previously expecting in the same job role but for other employers.
She has been taken through the company's maternity risk assessment - so is fully aware of the risks.... But can we really stop her from fulling her duties if she is happy & wants to continue in her role? Isn't it discrimination to prevent her & put her on light duties. The doctor has instigated she will not sign anything... Is it a necessity or does my colleague have the right to continue her job role until she feels unable to.
Any information will be great fully received! Thanks
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has she taken medical advice about the risks?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has a Doctors appointment this coming week - but is happy with the risks herself.
We haven't been able to allow her to teach today, so she was put onto light duties - however on Thursday she came in & taught for a school as although on our premises, she is not employed but us in that job role! The school employ her & just hire our facilities which seems stupid that we won't allow her to teach but she can continue in the same venue for the school!
I can understand she needs closely monitoring & risk assessments done throughout the pregnancy to ensure she still feels able to continue in her role or not if as the case maybe the more advanced the pregnancy becomes, but we feel that it's quite OTT to stop her teaching at this point if she feels able & capable to continue & fulfill the role at this time and can't see how or why a doctors letter would be necessary if she is being closely monitored & risk assessments carried out at various intervals.
Hello, whatever the employee may want, it is still your responsibility as an employer to ensure her health and safety. So regardless of what her wishes are in terms of continuing in her job, you are the ones who need to make the final decision. You would arrive at that by looking at the nature of the job, the associated risks, etc. Even if she is happy to continue in the job but you have identified risks which may harm her or her baby, then you need to overrule her decision. Even if she has made it clear she is happy to continue working, if something happens and she suffer an injury or her health is affected, you would still have responsibility for that because you allowed her to work despite the risks. If you need to keep her off work, when she is happy to work, then you would have to suspend her on medical grounds. She would continue to be paid as normal but just would not attend work. If the risk assessment policy so far is inadequate and too restrictive you may need to revisit that and reconsider the risks, but in the end you need to make a final decision as to when she will no longer be able to continue with her normal job. If needed you may seek professional advice from your own occupational health advisers or her doctor. If you believe your own risk policy is too restrictive then you may seek to change that but remember it is still the employer’s responsibility to ensure the workers’ health and safety at work. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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