Helen Larkin worked in digital marketing at beauty company, Liz Earle’s head office.  She was dismissed by her employer in June 2018 when she was 8 months pregnant.

Helen was made redundant by her employer and said that she was treated unfavourably as she was not interviewed for two other roles that were similar to the role she had previously been doing. Helen believed that the rejection of her application was because she was pregnant and due to commence maternity leave. The company denied any discrimination.

Helen Larkin succeeded with her claim and the company was ordered to pay £17,303 as compensation.


This case is a reminder to employers that it is unlawful to discriminate against a worker because they are pregnant or because of a pregnancy-related illness (including related time off) and a warning of the negative publicity that has the potential to damage a business’ reputation if you do discriminate.

Both employees and workers are protected along with some self-employed people where they have to do the work personally. The person could take their case to an employment tribunal if they believe they’ve been discriminated against because of pregnancy or maternity. The law applies regardless of how long the person has been employed by their employer.

Some examples of discrimination include:

  • dismissing them
  • not offering them a job
  • changing their pay or other terms
  • forcing them to work while on maternity leave
  • stopping them returning to work because they’re breastfeeding

The law covers the person from the point they become pregnant until either:

  • their maternity leave ends
  • they return to work
  • they leave their job

If you require any advice on any of the points mentioned in this blog, get in touch with Farleys’ employment law team on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.