Cases that relate to maternity leave
Handels-OG Kontorfunktionaerernes Forbund (acting on behalf of Larsson) v Dansk Handel & Service (acting on behalf of Fotex Supermarked A/S) (C-400/95)1
Whether the dismissal of the plaintiff is reasonable.
Ms Larsson informed her employers that she was pregnant in August 1991. She was on sick leave from 7 August to 24 August 1991 during her pregnancy, and due to a loosening of her pelvic ring, from 4 November 1991 until 15 March 1992, when her maternity leave begin. Her statutory maternity leave of 24 weeks came to an end on 18 September 1992, after which she took her annual leave until 16 October. However, as she was still receiving treatment for her pelvic ring, she again went on sick leave.
On 10 November, the employers gave notice to terminate the contract of employment on the ground of "your lengthy period of absence and the fact that it is scarcely likely that you will at any time in the future -- on grounds of health -- be again in a position to carry out your work in a satisfactory manner".
Ms Larsson claimed that her dismissal while on sick leave was contrary to the Equal Treatment Directive inasmuch as her illness began during her pregnancy and continued after the expiry of her maternity leave. The So- og Handelsret (Maritime and Commercial Court) took the view that it was clear from the decision of the European Court in the Hertz case -- Handels- og Kontorfunktionaerernes Forbund i Danmark (acting for Hertz) v Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening (acting for Aldi Marked K/S) -- that Ms Larsson's dismissal was not precluded by the Directive. In Hertz, the European Court ruled that a woman is protected from dismissal because of her absence during any maternity leave to which she has a right under national law.
It was not discriminatory per se to dismiss her once the maternity leave period ended, even where the reason for dismissal was a pregnancy-related illness which first...