Barmaid succeeds with Employment Tribunal pregnancy discrimination claim

hmctsA former barmaid at a Hungerford gastro-pub has won her claims for discrimination and unfair dismissal after she was dismissed from her job because she was pregnant.

Rachel Skeffington won almost £20,000 in her claims for pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal after the Tribunal found that she had been dismissed because of her pregnancy.

Ms Skeffington told the Reading Employment Tribunal that she had commenced work for the Innformal Pub Company in the John O’Gaunt Inn in 2013 as a bar manager. In December 2013 Ms Skeffington discovered that she was pregnant and informed the owner of the pub, Mr Mark Genders, that she was expecting a child. She gave evidence that Mr Genders’ reaction to this news that he had sworn at her and told her not to expect maternity pay, and that she had subsequently received an email from the area manager of the Innformal Pub Company asking her when her resignation would be handed in.

The Employment Tribunal was also told by Ms Skeffington that she had been dismissed on 25 February 2014. She stated that she was told that the reason for her dismissal was her timekeeping and her failure to keep the pub cellar tidy, although Ms Skeffington gave evidence that she believed the reason for her dismissal was the fact that she was pregnant.

Ms Skeffington also gave evidence that the following conduct occurred after she informed Mr Genders that she was pregnant:

  • That Mr Genders had told her that he would have to “get your notice before you get too fat and wobbly”
  • That the area manager, Susan Waring, criticised Ms Skeffington for going to have her 15-week scan
  • That Mr Genders had not made any effort to prevent regular customers in the pub from making demeaning comments to Ms Skeffington

The Innformal Pub Company defended Ms Skeffington’s claims for discrimination and unfair dismissal, arguing that she had been dismissed because of her conduct and that Ms Skeffington’s pregnancy had not been the reason for her dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal found in Ms Skeffington’s favour in her claims for pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal. The Employment Tribunal commented in its Judgment: “Our decision is that the reason for the claimant’s dismissal was her pregnancy. We are also satisfied that the claimant was unfairly dismissed contrary to the provisions of the Employment Rights Act and the maternity and parental law regulations.”

The Employment Tribunal awarded Ms Skeffington £17,239.20 as compensation for her claims, comprised of £280 for wrongful dismissal; £8,000 for injury to feelings; £1,120 for the failure to provide her with particulars of employment; £3,640 for the past loss of earnings she sustained; £1,512 in statutory maternity pay; and £1,120 for future loss of earnings. An ‘ACAS uplift’ of 10% was also applied to the award for her employer’s breach of the ACAS Code of Practice.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must take particular care when dismissing employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave, as if the employer dismissed the employee because of this reason then the employee may be entitled to bring an Employment Tribunal claim – as this case shows, these cases can be potentially expensive for a business.”

The original article in Newbury Today can be found here.