Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

Lack of support during pregnancy

Conciliation: Pregnancy discrimination in employment

Publication: 16 November 2016

A woman who had a difficult pregnancy felt she didn’t receive adequate support from her employer to complete a project.

Story

A woman who worked in the finance industry made a complaint of pregnancy discrimination after she received a poor performance review and did not receive her usual annual bonus and pay rise. 

She said that she had always received positive reviews until she was pregnant and had not received adequate support to complete a project during her difficult pregnancy and other recent problems. When she tried to address these issues within the organisation, she did not feel that anything was achieved.

The employer said that the lack of bonus and rise related entirely to the woman’s performance and not to her pregnancy. They argued that they had provided adequate support including allocating additional resources and arranging for her to work one day per week at home. 

The employer denied that they had pressured her or asked her to come in on her day at home as she alleged. They said that she didn’t tell them about the additional problems she was experiencing and therefore they could not be expected to make arrangements to address these.

The employer offered to find a different position for the complainant when she returned to work after maternity leave, but she was concerned that it would be difficult to continue working for the employer after the stress she had experienced.

After some further negotiation, the complaint was settled when the complainant agreed to resign and the employer agreed to provide her with her leave entitlements, a small additional salary payment and a statement of service.

What are my rights at work?

Pregnancy discrimination

Employers must treat pregnant employees the same way as they treat all their other employees. They must do this whether you are permanent, full-time, part-time or casual. They can only treat you differently if there's a legal reason for them to do so.

It is generally against the law:

  • to transfer you to another job where they think a pregnant woman will be safer - unless there are valid medical or safety reasons for this
  • not give you the same or a similar job when you return from maternity leave

More information on Pregnancy discrimination

​​​Back to November 2016 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​​​

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