The evidence spoke for itself

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Date:
02 Apr 2012

the document with the written notice of termination had been created before the employee informed her employer that she was pregnant. the reason for the dismissal was therefore not her pregnancy

The document with the written notice of termination had been created before the employee informed her employer that she was pregnant. The reason for the dismissal was therefore not her pregnancy

The document with the written notice of termination had been created before the employee informed her ‎employer that she was pregnant. The reason for the dismissal was therefore not her pregnancy.‎
 
The Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women protects employees against dismissal by reason ‎of pregnancy. The burden of proof under the Act may be difficult to discharge unless the employer is ‎able to show that the decision to dismiss the employee was made before the employer had become ‎aware of her pregnancy. This can be seen from this High Court judgment.‎
 
A dentist’s assistant discovered in early April 2008 that she was pregnant. She went on sick leave on 16 ‎April, and on 18 April she underwent surgery for ectopic pregnancy. On 20 April she called her employer ‎to tell them about the pregnancy. She returned to work on 29 April and was dismissed the same day.‎
 
The assistant believed that her dismissal was contrary to the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and ‎Women and that she was therefore entitled to compensation under the Act.‎
Her employer argued that the decision to dismiss had been made already on 15 April 2008 and that they ‎had not been aware of the pregnancy at that point. On the contrary, she was dismissed for her lack of ‎commitment and poor performance.‎
 
Lack of knowledge proved
The employer succeeded in proving to the Court’s satisfaction that the document had been created ‎before the assistant was given notice. This was one of the reasons why the Court was satisfied that the ‎employer had not been aware of the pregnancy when dismissing the assistant and, accordingly, the ‎pregnancy could not have been a factor in the decision to dismiss.‎

 

Norrbom Vinding notes

  • that the judgment shows that, in cases concerning alleged dismissal due to pregnancy, whether ‎or not the employer is able to prove to the court’s satisfaction that the decision to dismiss was ‎made before the employer became aware of the pregnancy may be crucial to the outcome.‎