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Supreme Court of Denmark

Compensation for dismissed pregnant woman 

Case no. 48/2010
Judgment 20 February 2012

Plejeringen represented by Torben Pasgaard

On 1 March 2008, the female employee, K, was employed by Plejeringen as a social and health care assistant with a three-month probation period. In the beginning of April, she was dismissed due to excessive sickness absence. It could be applied that her sickness was pregnancy-related; however, the parties disagreed as to whether Plejeringen was aware of this at the time of dismissal.

K claimed compensation corresponding to six months' pay, submitting that the dismissal was in contravention of s. 9 of the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women.

The Supreme Court made it clear that, according to the purpose of that provision, the right not to be dismissed due to pregnancy-related absence also covers a situation where the employer neither was nor should have been aware of the pregnancy at the time of dismissal. However, in this situation, the employer's liability for compensation must be conditional on whether the employer reverses its decision to dismiss after having been made aware of the pregnancy. As Plejeringen had not reversed its dismissal decision after having been made aware of K's pregnancy, she was entitled to compensation corresponding to six months' pay.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.

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