Ryan Anderson acted for a successful ex-employee in a pregnancy discrimination and unlawful dismissal on health and safety grounds case. The Employment Tribunal awarded the claimant £42,405.59 in total.
Background to the employment claims
Initially, the claimant had been employed as a shop assistant in a shop-floor role which involved physical tasks such as heavy lifting. She was subsequently moved to an office role.
In March 2023, the claimant told her employers that she was pregnant, provided a medical note confirming this and requested a risk assessment relating to any physical tasks she may have to do from time to time.
Immediately after informing them of her pregnancy, her employers started a campaign of ill treatment against her. They even accused her of lying about the pregnancy.
They made malicious comments focused on her pregnancy and redeployed her to work on the shop floor. This meant the claimant had to undertake much more physical activity – activities she had specifically referred to when requesting a risk assessment.
In April, they dismissed her.
The Employment Tribunal
The 3 respondents (the company, a manager and the sole director) did not attend the hearing. They informed the tribunal they were unable to attend, submitted by email documents which effectively showed the respondents standing by their discriminatory conduct, and asked if they could submit further evidence.
The tribunal found:
- her former employers had discriminated against her contrary to s.18 Equality Act 2010;
- the 1st and 3rd respondents had dismissed her because of her pregnancy;
- discrimination and health and safety detriments by the 3rd respondent.
In particular, the tribunal made an award of aggravated damages at a value of £10,000, on top of injury to feelings of £22,500, given the nature of the comments, their “malicious and spiteful treatment targeting the pregnancy itself”, and their position of standing by their discriminatory acts having continued right up to the eve of the hearing.