If, during what is called the “protected period”, you are treated unfavourably because of your pregnancy or because of an illness suffered as a result of your pregnancy then this would amount to pregnancy discrimination.
The protected period is the period between when a woman’s pregnancy begins and when her maternity leave ends.
As a pregnant employee you are entitled to maternity leave, regardless of how long you have worked for your employer.
As regards pay during maternity leave, most mothers will usually qualify to be paid Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance during some or all of their maternity leave. Some employers may in fact pay contractual pay during part of all of your maternity leave.
A person (a) discriminates against a woman if A treats her unfavourably because she is on compulsory maternity leave or because she is exercising or seeking to exercise, or has exercised or sought to exercise her right to ordinary or additional maternity leave.
A person (A) victimises another person (B) if A subjects B to a detriment because B raises a grievance about pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination, brings a claim of pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination, complains about or alleges pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination or gives evidence or information in relation to someone else’s pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination claim or because A believes that B has done or may do one of those things. So if for example you are denied promotion or training because of your involvement in a complaint of pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination, this may be considered victimisation.
If an allegation is made in bad faith or false evidence or information is given this may mean you are not protected.
If during your maternity leave your role is made redundant then your employer is obliged to offer you any suitable alternative employment in the Company or at any associated Company under a new contract. You therefore are treated differently when being made redundant whilst on maternity leave and receive additional protection.
The new contract of employment must be for work that is suitable for you to do and appropriate in the circumstances. In addition, the provisions of the contract as to the terms and conditions and place of work must not be substantially less favourable than if you had continued in your old job.