Max Lansman defends successful employer in whistleblowing/pregnancy discrimination claim

20 November 2023

Max Lansman, instructed by Atkinson Rose LLP, acted for a solicitors’ firm that successfully defended a claim by a former employee. The former employee, a trainee solicitor, alleged she had been dismissed for whistleblowing to the SRA, or because of her pregnancy.

Background to the claimant’s dismissal

The claimant started work as a trainee solicitor with the respondent firm in July 2021.

In August 2022, a principal solicitor at the firm contacted her to discuss concerns about her performance. In the investigation that followed, the firm recovered 106 emails the trainee had sent from her work email account to a private email address.

After being suspended on full pay, the trainee reported the firm to the SRA and Legal Ombudsman. She alleged that it was involved in ‘fraudulent activities’ and had leaked client information.

Following several disciplinary meetings that the claimant did not engage in, the firm decided to terminate her employment. A day later, she notified the firm she was pregnant.

Three days after that, the firm sent a letter confirming her dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal's findings

After a 4-day hearing, the Employment Tribunal held that the claimant sending work emails to a private account was enough to rebut her wrongful dismissal claim.

The tribunal found that there was no substance to her allegations against the firm and dismissed all of her claims.