Have You Been Discriminated Against for Being Pregnant?
If you have been unfairly treated by your employer because you are pregnant, you have the right to take legal action against the employer. We highly recommend making use of our labour lawyers in Midrand (close to Centurion), as the labour laws of the country are complex and it is in your best interest to have legal guidance going forward with your action against the employer.
You, as an employee, enjoy exceptional protection in terms of legislation when it comes to the treatment of pregnant and post-pregnant employees. For one, the Codes of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after Birth of a Child was issued in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
The codes require the employer to encourage you to disclose the pregnancy as soon as possible to enable the employer to assess the risks involved and how to manage such risks. According to the codes, the employer must evaluate your particular situation, and assess the health and safety risks to you whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Such risks pertain to the workplace environment.
The employer must take the necessary steps to protect you against the workplace risks and must supply you with information, as well as training, on such risks and the relevant safety measures. The employer must also keep record of a list of jobs posing less risk to pregnant or breastfeeding employees. This is to ensure that you can be transferred to such jobs for the duration of the pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Even if you are 100% healthy after having given birth to a child, you are still entitled to take time off to look after your newborn child if the child is sick. As our experienced labour lawyers near Centurion can explain, the employer may not discriminate against you or dismiss you because you are pregnant. However, the Codes of Good Practice are not only applicable if you are the mother of the child. The codes state that no person may be discriminated against. This includes the father of the ill child or the life partner of the pregnant employee/mother of the newborn child.
The South African Constitution also protects you against unfair discrimination. Our labour lawyers in Midrand (near Centurion) can also explain how the right is entrenched in the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Equity Act. As such, all employers must adhere to the legislation. Apart from your right not to be discriminated against, the employer must also fulfil specific legal obligations to ensure the health and safety of pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Accordingly, the employer must provide you with a safe work environment.
The risks against which the employer must protect you include biological, chemical, and ergonomic hazards. Issues such as backaches, morning sickness, varicose veins, more frequent visits to the toilet, and discomfort must be addressed. The employer must even consider how your sense of balance is affected during pregnancy and the tiredness that accompanies pregnancy.
Non-compliance by the employer can be grounds for a claim of discrimination. It is best to discuss the procedures with our labour lawyers before you initiate steps against the employer. The employer may not dismiss you because you are pregnant. You may not be dismissed because you intend to become pregnant or for any reason related to your pregnancy.
The employer may not force you to sign an agreement whereby you state that you will resign if you get pregnant or that you acknowledge that you will lose your position if you become pregnant. If the employer has done any of the actions discussed above, seek immediate guidance from our labour lawyers located in Midrand (not far from Centurion).
Get in touch with our labour lawyers on 011 234 2125 for guidance and assistance with regards to your employees or employer in Centurion.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information.