§ Lord Vinson
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether it is lawful for a potential employer to decline to employ a pregnant woman where he 73WA considers her condition would make it inadvisable or impossible for her to carry out her duties.
§ Baroness Blackstone
I can only reiterate my reply to the noble Lord's earlier Questions on this subject. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 made it unlawful to discriminate against a woman by refusing to employ her. Following clear case law from the European Court of Justice, this means that it is unlawful discrimination to refuse a woman employment on the ground of her pregnancy. However, Section 51 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 may provide a defence to a charge of unlawful discrimination if an act was necessary in order for that person to comply with a relevant statutory provision in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (which requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees). Each case will need to be decided on its particular facts.