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Can you dismiss a female employee who is pregnant? Here's what the law states

by , 18 March 2015
The easy answer would be: "It depends on the grounds for this dismissal".

But when an employee is pregnant, this isn't so.

If you're thinking of dismissing an employee based on her pregnancy, you should know that, according to paragraph 4.2 of the Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after the Birth of Her Child, no person may be discriminated against or dismissed on account of pregnancy

"A dismissal is automatically unfair if the reason for the dismissal is the employee's pregnancy, intended pregnancy, or any reason related to her pregnancy" , as the Labour Relations Act states, at Section 187 (1) (e) and it's also a Constitutional right.
 
And that's what makes the dismissal process in this case so tricky.
 
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According to the law, you can only dismiss a pregnant employee if her job performance is poor. 

But you can only do this if you document her lack of the job performance and show that she was counseled about the issue.
 
In case the complaints of poor job performance are unclear, or there's no documentation to confirm the her dismissal was indeed a case of poor performance, and the employee wasn't about the issues and given a chance to improve, dismissal of a pregnant employee within a short period of time after she has told the employer about her pregnancy, could end up in court as a an unfair dismissal case.

That's why you need to be careful and demonstrate that the final decision to dismiss her was made not because of her pregnancy, but because of her inability to do her job the way you needed her to. 

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