In an article by Sarah Womack in the Telegraph, it appears that England has exactly the same problem we have in the South African Labour Legislation. According to the Equal Opportunities Commission, there are numerous instances where employers have chosen other reasons to try and dismiss employees who report that they are pregnant.
In this day and age, most employers are fully aware that to dismiss simply for being pregnant is illegal in terms of all the Labour Legislation.

In a period of six years, there were 1000 pregnancy-related unfair dismissal claims registered in England and Wales. Although we haven’t kept statistics in South Africa, it appears that we have much higher numbers. In England, the average compensation award for the women dismissed was approximately 6 months salary but in South Africa, one must note that in terms of Section 187 of the Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 1995 the dismissal of an employee because of pregnancy, intended pregnancy or any reason related to pregnancy is deemed to be automatically unfair and the onus shifts to the employer to prove why the dismissal was fair. The Courts have taken this so seriously the Legislation has specifically stated that the claim could be for anything up to 2 years salary. As of late, we have noticed our Courts coming down very hard on employers who have discriminated against pregnant employees.

Unfortunately, pregnant women have on occasion hidden behind this pregnancy when there have been other reasons for the dismissal and this has created enormous problems for the employer.


For more information on labour law advice or services. Please feel free to contact us at Cape Labour Consultants and we will gladly assist you. Cape Labour & Industrial Consultants is a Cape Town-based providing Labour Law (Industrial Relations) and advice to employers and employees across all market segments and industries since 1987.

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