Thank you very much for clarifying. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.
In the event that an employee is pregnant, their employer has a legal duty to look after their health and safety in the workplace and to minimise any associated risks. The employer’s legal obligations can be summarised as follows:
1. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to secure the health (including mental health), safety and welfare of employees at work. This includes providing a safe place of work, safe systems of work, and appropriate information and training.
2. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require suitable and sufficient assessments of health and safety risks at work to be carried out. This includes a requirement on employers to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers from work-related ill health.
3. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require employers to provide adequate welfare facilities in the workplace for new or expectant mothers.
As you can see, an employer has a legal duty to conduct a risk assessment if there is any potential that a pregnant employee may be exposed to any health and safety risks in the workplace. Such an assessment must also include an assessment of risks to new and expectant mothers arising from any ‘processes, working conditions, physical, biological and chemical agents’.
If the risk assessment reveals there is a risk, the employer must do all that is reasonable to remove it or prevent any further exposure to it. If the employee needs health and safety adjustments, they must notify the employer in writing to confirm that they are pregnant.
Once the risks have been identified, or the employee has formally notified the employer that they need certain adjustments, the employer must consider the risks and take necessary action as follows:
1.Temporarily alter any working conditions or hours of work, if this is reasonable and avoids the risk in question. This could include changes such as allowing extra breaks, providing seating, avoiding manual work, changing hours of work, etc.
2. If these changes are not possible or do not avoid the risk, the employer must offer suitable alternative work on terms and conditions that are not substantially less favourable than the existing ones. So that would involve an alternative role which is similar to the existing one, but which avoids the identified risks.
3. If there is no suitable alternative work, the employer must medically suspend the employee on full pay for as long as necessary to avoid the risk. That could potentially mean suspension lasting up until her maternity leave starts.
At any point, this can also be pursued by raising a formal grievance with the employer. In the most serious circumstances, it could also amount to pregnancy discrimination, which can be pursued as a claim through the Employment Tribunal.