Claimant awarded over £15,000 after being subjected to maternity discrimination (LeCompte v Ancaster Group Limited & anor)

In the case of LeCompte v Ancaster Group Limited & anor ET/2303056/2015 the Employment Tribunal awarded a claimant over £15,000 in compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings after finding that she had been subjected to discrimination.

The facts in LeCompte v Ancaster Group Limited & anor

The Employment Tribunal had, at a previous liability hearing (the judgment of which is not publicly available), that Ms Lecompte had been subjected to discrimination and harassment, under sections 18 and 26 Equality Act 2010 respectively, relating to issues relevant to the extension of her probation period and her subsequent resignation.

The Employment Tribunal’s purpose at this hearing was to consider what remedy Ms LeCompte was entitled to.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal held that Ms LeCompte was entitled to £6,083.87 for loss of earnings and £9,500 for injury to feelings, calculated as follows

Loss of earnings

The Tribunal awarded Ms LeCompte £6,083.87 as compensation for loss of earnings, based upon her loss of earnings from the date her employment terminated to the date she commenced maternity leave, the period of time that she spent on maternity leave, and the 51 weeks that she would have worked for at the company once she had returned from her period of maternity leave.

The Employment Tribunal concluded that Ancaster Group Limited had not succeeded in showing that Ms LeCompte had failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate her losses.

Injury to feelings

The Employment Tribunal held that Ms LeCompte had been discriminated against and, further, that the discrimination had caused her the loss of a job which had been particularly suitable to her circumstances at a particularly vulnerable time for her, and that this had caused her significant stress and anxiety (particularly given that she was a lone parent). The Tribunal therefore concluded that an award at the lower end of the middle band set out in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2002] EWCA Civ 1871 would be appropriate.

Failure to comply with ACAS Code

The Employment Tribunal concluded that the value of the awards made to Ms LeCompte should be reduced by 15% to reflect the fact that she had not attended the scheduled grievance hearing(s) and had not cooperated with the grievance process; part of the reason for this reduction was that Ms LeCompte had given differing reasons for her non-compliance at the liability hearing and the remedy hearing – at the liability hearing she had stated the reason for her non-compliance was medical in nature, and at the remedy hearing she had stated the reason was that she had been relying on legal advice.

Our solicitors’ view on LeCompte v Ancaster Group Limited & anor

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case shows that losing Employment Tribunal cases can have potentially significant repercussions for employers, not only in terms of the compensation awarded but also in terms of the publicity of any judgment.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal in LeCompte v Ancaster Group Limited & anor can be found here.