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It has long been established in employment law that an employer should carry out risk assessments both in respect of pregnant workers (to assess any dangers or workplace adaptions that may need to be made) and in respect of breast feeding.
In the recent case last week the CJEU in Otero Ramos v Servizo Galego de Saude has confirmed that failure to conduct an appropriate risk assessment for a breast feeding employee can result in sex discrimination.
On the facts of that case the employer had simply, without substantiated explanation, said the employee’s work was “risk free” which the employee argued was incorrect and in breach of the European Directive covering such risk assessments. The Court held if a breast feeding mother can show that a risk assessment was defective, then that can give rise to a prima facie case of discrimination. The burden of proof then turns to the employer to show that in fact the required risk assessment had been done in line with the Directive, but if the employer was unable to discharge that burden, a sex discrimination claim could result.
The case underlines that such risk assessments are important. All businesses both large and small should perform such assessments.
Motor Industry Legal Services
Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.