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Discrimination following announcement of pregnancy

05 September 2009

  1. 5 months into her pregnancy, our client went into labour.  Sadly, after 4 excruciating days in labour, she experienced a stillbirth.  Despite the distressing circumstances of her sickness absence, our client's Managing Director began to harass her to accept a promotion, involving considerable additional responsibilities from the day of her return.

    He then continued to bully her over the forthcoming months, making implied threats to sack her and cruel references to her miscarriage.  When our client was fortunate to become pregnant once again, the following year, her employers continued to subject her to derogatory comments and other detriments.  For example, our client received only statutory maternity pay when other colleagues had continued on full pay throughout their maternity leave.

    The company then refused our client's reasonable request to return to work on a part-time basis, when her colleagues supported the business case she had put forward.   Our client had a massive fight on her hands to get her employers to even consider the part time working, she was met with brick walls all the time.  They refused to listen to reason and even consider what she was saying - eventually they paid lip service to a response to her request but she felt that they never genuinely considered it and it was never going to be granted despite excellent business reasons in support of her request.

    We argued our client's claim before the employment tribunal.  Despite evidential difficulties in relation to the comments our client had alleged were made by her boss, the tribunal found in her favour, stating "such insensitivity on the part of any employee is crass but on the part of a Managing Director it is unforgivable."  We succeeded in securing victory and a significant settlement for our client in this claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.

  2. In another claim of maternity-related sex discrimination at a well known City bank, we managed to resolve the dispute with the employee retaining her job. In this case, our client found that she had no proper duties when she returned from maternity leave. We were able to take advantage of our knowledge and experience in pursuing matters through internal grievance procedures to achieve a result satisfactory to both sides, with our client remaining in employment.

  3. Our client was employed by a music company, and had enjoyed a successfully progressing career up until she announced her pregnancy.  From that point on, treatment changed, and she was subjected to bullying treatment involving derogatory comments and being ostracised by her colleagues, until she was eventually forced out of her job.  This case highlights the additional difficulties faced by pregnant women who bring discrimination claims.  By the time of the trial, our client had given birth and was caring for a two-month old child.  She succeeded in her claim for unfair dismissal.

  4. We also ran a successful tribunal claim for a probationary police officer who was told she could only do office work if she was pregnant.