Cumbrian woman wins Employment Tribunal claim for discrimination

MoJA Cumbrian mother has won her Employment Tribunal claim for discrimination after a Tribunal panel ruled that she had been less favourably treated because of her pregnancy.

Mrs Harris worked for The Wilson Arms in Torver from August 2012 until she was effectively dismissed in January 2012, as no extra hours were allocated to her. When she first started working at the hotel she was allocated 40 to 50 hours a week but, after she told her boss that she was pregnant in November 2012, her hours were steadily reduced until she was allocated no extra work in January 2013. Mrs Harris subsequently brought an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and preganancy and maternity discrimination, and the case came before the Employment Tribunal earlier this year.

The Employment Tribunal panel heard evidence from Mrs Harris that she informed her former employers by letter in November 2012 that she was pregnant. Her boss wrote back to her to congratulate her on the news but also informed her that, without consulting with her first, her hours would immediately be reduced to 30 hours a week. After this her hours were steadily reduced until in January 2013 she was not allocated further work.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in Mrs Harris’ favour in her claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and found that she had also been unfairly dismissed. Mrs Harris was awarded £9,330 for loss of earnings and injury to feelings by the Employment Tribunal.

Mrs Harris commented after the judgment: “It was worth it in the end. It just proves that you can’t get away with treating people like that.”

A spokesman for the Wilson Arms declined to comment on the Employment Tribunal judgment.

Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans, commented: “This case demonstrates that there must be consultation with employees if you wish to reduce their hours. If businesses fail to do so they can be subject to constructive dismissal and/or discrimination claims, depending on the circumstances.”