Removal of police dog from pregnant handler was direct discrimination

In the case of Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis v Keohane [UKEAT/0463/12/RN], the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that the removal of a police dog from its pregnant handler during her maternity leave constituted direct discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity.

The employee in question was a police dog handler, in charge of two search dogs. In October 2010, she informed her employer that she was pregnant — as a result, she was taken off operational duties for health and safety reasons. The police (in line with their policy of re-allocating or withdrawing police dogs where handlers were likely to be non-operational for a while) subsequently decided to re-allocate the employee’s ‘passive’ search dog, Nunki Pippin. In October 2011, the police decided not to return Nunki Pippin to the employee…

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