Female employee awarded over £43,000 after being discriminated against and dismissed because she was pregnant (Freear v Vossloh Cogifer UK Ltd)

In the case of Freear v Vossloh Cogifer UK Ltd 1800747/2016  the Employment Tribunal held that Ms Freear should be awarded over £43,000 in compensation after she had been discriminated against and dismissed because she had become pregnant.

The facts in Freear v Vossloh Cogifer UK Ltd

Ms Freear worked for Vossloh Cogifer UK Ltd (“Vossloh”). On 9 December 2015 Ms Freear informed Mr Lindsay that she would like to take maternity leave and later on the same day she was informed that she was to be made redundant. There had been no previous indication that her employment was at risk whether by reason of performance concerns or otherwise. Ms Freear went to see her GP on 11 December 2015 and was signed off work sick on the same day.

On 17 December 2015 Ms Freear was notified by letter of the threat of disciplinary action. The Tribunal found in its earlier liability judgment that she was notified of the threat of redundancy and threatened with disciplinary action because she was pregnant or because of her impending maternity leave.

Ms Freear was signed off work until 8 January 2016 and did not return to work before she resigned from her employment with immediate effect on 18 January 2016.

On 23 December 2015 Ms Freear was referred to North Lincolnshire Psychological Therapy Services. This resulted in Ms Freear attending counselling. Ms Freear experienced feelings of depression, feelings which continued after birth. Ms Freear also gave evidence that he had suffered a loss of confidence. She had attempted to find new roles after her dismissal from Vossler but had been unable to find such.

Ms Freear subsequently brought Employment Tribunal claims for unfair dismissal and pregnancy discrimination.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Freear v Vossloh Cogifer UK Ltd

Liability having been dealt with at an earlier hearing, the Employment Tribunal awarded Ms Freear the following sums in compensation for her Employment Tribunal claims:

  • Injury to feelings: £13,236.92
  • Loss of earnings prior to the termination of employment: £703.31
  • Interest on these sums of £67.08
  • Past loss of earnings: £10,645.89
  • Future loss of earnings: £19,081.89

In total the Tribunal awarded Ms Freear £43,735.09 in compensation for her claims.

Our solicitors’ view on Freear v Vossloh Cogifer UK Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must ensure that disciplinary and redundancy processes are carried out impartially, promptly, and thoroughly, and that the motivation for such processes are genuine. Employers must ensure that, in particular, employees who have informed their employer that they are pregnant are not subjected to any adverse treatment because of their pregnancy.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal on remedy can be found here.