The Federal Circuit Court has found that an employer took unlawful adverse action against a pregnant employee when it dismissed her for taking time off work due to morning sickness and to attend medical appointments1.
The background to the dismissal was that:
- In March 2016, the employee attended a three-month review meeting halfway through her six month probation period. The company told the employee that she appeared to be “going alright” and did not raise any performance concerns. The employee told the company that she was pregnant and that she intended to commence maternity leave on 1 September 2016.
- Over the next three months, the employee took a total of seven days sick leave due to morning sickness, plus four days’ annual leave to attend medical appointments related to her pregnancy.
- On 3 June 2016, the last working day before her probation period expired, a director of the company dismissed the employee telling her that: “due to your current circumstances, your employment has become unreliable and we have decided not to continue with your employment”.