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Sahota v Home Office and Pipkin - IVF treatment and sex discrimination/harassment [2009] EAT

IVF is a form of  medical treatment for infertility and should not of itself be treated as equivalent to pregnancy. Absence due to IVF treatment therefore generally falls to be treated as sickness absence in the usual way.

In March 2009 immigration officer Mrs Parminda Sahota lost claims of sex and race discrimination at the Ashford employment tribunal.  She complained of ten acts of discrimination, all of which she alleged constituted both direct discrimination contrary to Sex Discrimination Act 1975 s.1(2)(a) and harassment contrary to s.4A.  For example, she had been suspended by her employer for taking "too much time off work" due to IVF treatment and claimed that the 12 days off she took for that treatment should not have been included as sick days under the Home Office's sickness absence policy.  She also claimed that her manager, Rick Pipkin, had ignored her skills for the job and made jibes that she just wanted to 'get pregnant'.

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