In Metropolitan Police v Keohane, the EAT held that
it was discriminatory for a police dog handler to have her dog removed from her
when she was no longer operational due to pregnancy.
PC Keohane filed
a claim of direct discrimination with the Employment Tribunal under section 18
of the Equality Act 2010, which protects women against unfavourable treatment
because of their pregnancy or maternity.
The EAT held that the removal of the dog, called Nunki
Pippin, produced a risk of an impact on the claimant’s career progression and
loss of overtime on the claimant’s return and was therefore considered
Whilst the need for the Police to keep a search dog
operational might have been the prime reason for the removal of Nunki that did
not mean that the claimant’s pregnancy or maternity leave was not the cause of
it. The EAT restated that under that under section 18, a woman’s pregnancy or
maternity leave does not have to be the sole or main reason for the
unfavourable treatment. A woman’s pregnancy or maternity leave only
needs to materially influence the employer’s decision-making for the
unfavourable treatment to be considered discriminatory.