Isle of Man: Equality : Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination

Last Updated: 17 November 2017
Article by Tara Cubbon

According to a UK Government report, 77% of mothers surveyed had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience during pregnancy, maternity leave and/or on return from maternity leave.

11% had felt forced to leave their job. This figure included those that had been dismissed, those made compulsorily redundant and those feeling treated so poorly that they felt they had to leave their job. 

The report (Pregnancy and Maternity-Related Discrimination and Disadvantage: Summary of key findings, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, BIS/16/145), published in March 2016, is the second of two reports commissioned by the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in conjunction with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (the "EHRC") in light of Government concern for the continued difficulties faced by women in the workplace.

Despite the UK's Equality Act coming into force in 2010, the report suggests that issues relating to pregnancy and maternity remain very live issues for both employers and employees. Caroline Walters, deputy chair of the EHRC commented that the report highlights the "worrying levels of discrimination and disadvantage at work that women still face".

Prior to the Isle of Man Equality Act 2017, pregnant women or new mothers in the Isle of Man who were discriminated against could bring claims under the Employment (Sex Discrimination) Act 2000. This protection sat aside and overlapped with the other protections that are afforded to pregnant women and mothers under the Isle of Man's Employment Act 2006 and related regulations including the right to paid time off for antenatal care, health and safety during and after pregnancy, annual leave, the right to return to work and protection against unfair dismissal.

The introduction of the Isle of Man Equality Act 2017 will bring the position in the Isle of Man largely in line with the position in the UK. Rather than pregnant women and mothers having to claim for discrimination under the more general ground of 'sex discrimination', pregnancy and maternity are protected characteristics in their own right under the Equality Act.

Direct pregnancy and maternity discrimination occurs if, during the protected period, in relation to a pregnancy, a person treats a woman unfavourably because she is pregnant or because of an illness suffered by her as a result of pregnancy.

A person also discriminates against a woman if they treat her unfavourably because she is on maternity leave or is seeking to exercise her rights to maternity leave.

There is no need for an employee to show that she received unfavourable treatment compared with a male colleague or a non-pregnant female employee and the pregnancy or maternity leave does not have to be the only reason for the unfavourable treatment. Furthermore, it does not matter what the employer's motives or intentions are; it is automatically discriminatory if the unfavourable treatment is because the employee is pregnant or is related to maternity leave.

Examples of unfavourable treatment include:-

  • dismissal because of pregnancy;
  • redundancy on the grounds of pregnancy;
  • reduction of pay, hours or type of work.
  • refusal of access to promotion;
  • pressure to resign; and
  • refusal of time off for antenatal care.

In addition to those more common examples, employers may discriminate in less obvious ways, for example:-

  • by failing to inform a pregnant employee of a client presentation that she would have attended if she had not been pregnant;

  • excluding a pregnant employee from certain types of work that she otherwise would have done;

  • failing to maintain communication with an employee on maternity leave;

  • failing to inform an employee on maternity leave of any job vacancies or promotion opportunities;<

  • making inappropriate comments about pregnancy or maternity that amount to harassment;

  • asking a woman about her family plans in a job interview;

  • refusing to deal properly with a new mother's request for flexible working; and

  • failing to provide adequate breaks and facilities for breastfeeding on the employee's return to work.

The UK Government's findings in its report suggest that, despite the protections afforded by the Equality Act, significant further work is needed to ensure that women do not continue to be disadvantaged in the workplace as a result of their decision to have children.

Notwithstanding this, the Government's report suggests that employers do recognise the value of supporting pregnant women and new mothers. 84% of the employers surveyed believed that it was in their interests to support women who are either pregnant or on maternity leave and that pregnant woman and mothers are as committed as other employees.

These findings from the UK are informative in light of the introduction of the Isle of Man Equality Act 2017.

In order to support pregnant women and new mothers and avoid claims being brought against them, employers need to ensure that they have a full understanding of the law relating to pregnancy and maternity, that adequate training is provided to the workforce and that proper policies and procedures are in place for ensuring the necessary arrangements and adjustments are made.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions