Pregnant women can be dismissed as part of redundancy rounds, ECJ rules
Feb 22, 2018
Pregnant women and new mothers are normally afforded immunity from workplace dismissal under EU law. But a new ruling allows employers a possible workaround.
The European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that pregnant and breastfeeding women in the European Union lose their protection from workplace dismissal in the event of a mass redundancy.
EU law normally bars employers from knowingly firing pregnant women from the start of their pregnancy until the end of their maternity leave, barring exceptional cases.
What the court ruled
- Employers can dismiss pregnant and breastfeeding women as part of a collective redundancy, if national law allows.
- Employers do not need to specify additional grounds to dismiss pregnant women other than those justifying the collective dismissal, if national law allows and the women are informed of the redundancy criteria.
- EU law overrides national laws that do not adequately protect pregnant women from dismissal.
- EU law does not afford pregnant women priority to be retained or redeployed during a redundancy round, but national law may provide additional protections.