Oxford

Pregnant RAF officer from Oxford wins £16k payout

An RAF officer from Oxford who claimed she was discriminated against when she became pregnant has been awarded more than £16,000 at an Employment Tribunal.

The officer was on a posting in the Falkland Islands when she told superior officers she was 12 weeks pregnant.

The tribunal in Reading heard her request to stay on in her job was denied and she was ordered to return to the UK immediately.

This meant she missed out on a review, delaying her promotion prospects.

'Offensive environment'

The woman involved has not been identified at her own request.

The Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the way she had been treated "had the effect of creating an intimidating, degrading, hostile or offensive environment for her", though this was not intentional on the Air Force's part, the EHRC said.

The Tribunal also recommended the Ministry of Defence carry out individual risk assessments for each pregnant woman and consider adjusting her role to enable her to remain in her post.

It also suggested the MoD establish a monitoring process in respect of any removal of a pregnant woman from her post, and undertake a performance appraisal for each pregnant woman starting maternity leave.

John Wadham, Group Director Legal of the EHRC, said: "The Commission's research has shown that pregnant women are the most discriminated group of people in the workforce, with 30,000 losing their jobs each year as a result of their pregnancy.

"Larger employers such as the Ministry of Defence should be leading the way in showing other organisations how to treat their pregnant workers.

"This judgment should serve as a reminder of what is expected of employers in these situations."

An RAF Spokesperson said: "The RAF accepts the ruling of the Tribunal and will work together with the other Services and the MoD to consider its recommendations".

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