Marketing Director, Mrs Shipp, was awarded £30,000 by The London Central Employment Tribunal for injury to feeling due to maternity and sex discrimination.
Whilst she was pregnant, Mrs Shipp was asked whether her baby was planned and how she thought her pregnancy would affect her career prospects. In addition to this, male colleagues also suggested putting bets on how much weight she would gain whilst she was pregnant.
Mrs Shipp raised the matter with senior bosses before going on maternity leave in June 2019 and she expressed how she was upset and frustrated with the comments.
During Mrs Shipp’s maternity leave, the company decided to restructure. They made redundancies and other colleagues resigned, however, the company did not inform Mrs Shipp of these changes and they overlooked the fact that she was on maternity leave.
Mrs Shipp was later told that she was being laid off via email and although she raised a grievance in December 2019, it was dismissed.
In September 2020, Mrs Shipp was then sacked after refusing to do the same Marketing Director job under a lesser title and for a considerably lower salary. It was later revealed that male co-workers changed job roles but did not receive a pay cut in the same way Mrs Shipp did.
The Employment Judge found that the unwanted comments Mrs Shipp experienced during her pregnancy generated an atmosphere that was humiliating and degrading for her. The Judge also concluded that she was subjected to a serious case of maternity discrimination before awarding her £30,000.
What can employees learn from this case?
It goes without saying that finding out you have lost your job whilst you are on maternity leave is incredibly distressing and thankfully, The Equality Act 2010 (The EA) provides protection to employees in Mrs Shipps’ situation and this is why she went on to win her discrimination claim.
Gender, pregnancy and maternity are all ‘Protected Characteristics’ under The EA and if you suffer any unfavourable treatment due to these characteristics then you may be able to take a claim to the Employment Tribunal. The EA recognises different forms of discrimination at work too, including; direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and it protects against a huge range of different types of discriminatory behaviour.
All employees should be aware that whilst they are on maternity leave, they are still protected by The EA and this act covers every section of UK employment. So, if you were to experience any unfavourable treatment whilst you are on maternity leave, this is unlawful and you can still make a claim against your employer. It is worth noting that Employment Law provides you with protection from the moment that you become pregnant until the end of your maternity leave.
Both sex discrimination and maternity discrimination are not something that should be overlooked and the case above is proof that you can win discrimination claims of this kind when you go to the Employment Tribunal. So, if you have been treated unfairly or in a manner that has caused emotional or physical suffering whilst you are pregnant or on maternity leave then it is beneficial to turn to an employment law specialist for some tailored advice.
Speaking to a specialist about sex discrimination claims
Should you wish to speak to an expert about the acts of discrimination you have experienced in the workplace and to find out more about making a claim to the Employment Tribunal, do not hesitate to contact Damian McCarthy today. It is important to be aware that most discrimination claims need to be made within three months less one day from the date that the discrimination occurred, so do not put off reaching out for assistance in this regard.
Damian is an employment law specialist with extensive experience and he will gladly provide you with any legal advice that you require relating to sex discrimination claims. He is particularly popular amongst clients who require assistance with complex claims of discrimination and dismissal, and he is passionate about ensuring that his clients’ interests are protected throughout all legal proceedings. You can trust that Damian will do all he can to turn your case into a winning one and help you to get the justice you deserve. So, be sure to get in touch with him as soon as possible.