Employer’s Obligations to New and Expectant Mothers

Maternity Rights Employment

Conducting an inadequate risk assessment for breastfeeding mothers, amounts to an act of sex discrimination, as held by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In the case of Otero Ramos v Servicio Galego de Saude (C-531-15), the employer conducted a risk assessment for a nurse who had returned to work while breastfeeding. The employer concluded that there were no risks attached to the nurse’s role and that there was therefore no need to alter the nurse’s working pattern.  The employer’s findings were not supported by any explanation and were therefore found by the Court to be unsubstantiated and discriminatory on the grounds of sex.

Niki Avraam, Employment Partner comments: This case serves as a useful reminder to employers that the requirement on employers to conduct a risk assessment for new and expectant mothers extends to those who are breastfeeding.

In related news, a new campaign was launched on 7 November 2017 to raise awareness about the level of redundancies among pregnant women and those on maternity leave.  Its aim? To secure greater protections for expectant and new mothers.


Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Commercial, Employment and Contract Dispute advice to companies and business owners. As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise by working alongside our clients. We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.

To discuss any employment matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Niki Avraam, Employment Partner, on 020 3735 6708 or email Niki at Niki.Avraam@hasolicitors.co.uk. Alternatively, visit our website at www.howatavraamsolicitors.co.uk.

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