Pregnancy Discrimination in the European Union Law Its Legal Character and the Scope of Pregnant Women Protection

Justyna Maliszewska-Nienartowicz


Protection of women in relation to pregnancy and maternity is generally regulated in the Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding. However, pregnancy discrimination has been the subject of numerous rulings issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union. On the basis of this case-law several questions can be asked. Most of them concern the legal character of pregnancy discrimination and the scope of pregnant women protection.Therefore, the first part of the article will focus on the problem of relations between pregnancy and sex discrimination. It will also consider if pregnancy discrimination should be based on comparison. The second part of the contribution will concentrate on the question if pregnancy discrimination is direct or indirect one or maybe we should refer to a special protection approach. Finally, the scope of pregnant women protection will be presented. The article will try to answer the question if further actions are necessary to tackle pregnancy discrimination, including the adoption of new regulations by the European Union or the change of the Court of Justice’s position.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n9p441

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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