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Care manager wins discrimination claim after being told to “stop faffing” while suffering morning sickness

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In  Mrs G Ferridge-Gunn v Alcedo Orange Limited Gemma Ferridge-Gunn had told her manager Rosie Caunt that she was suffering from morning sickness while working at Alcedo Orange in Blackpool when she was told to “stop faffing”. Mrs Ferridge-Gunn was sacked just eight days after revealing she was pregnant and an employment tribunal has now awarded her £9,594 after concluding she was the victim of discrimination.

The mum-of-two began work at Alcedo Orange, which is also known as Kare Plus Blackpool, in January 2020 and informed her boss she was pregnant on February 19 of the same year.

The company, which provides personal care and assistance to people living in their own homes in the Blackpool area and is based at Whitehills Business Park, sacked Mrs Ferridge-Gunn just eight days later on February 27 after she had taken two days’ leave on February 24 and 25 due to morning sickness.

Alcedo Orange claimed she was dismissed because they were dissatisfied with her performance and that she did not meet the targets set for her. However, she claimed she had not been given sufficient training, and during a progress meeting her bosses informed her she was not ‘getting to grips’ with the role. Managing director Andrew Boardman told Mrs Ferridge-Gunn that her figures were ‘the worst he had ever seen’.

After informing her boss that she was pregnant on February 19 Ms Caunt asked whether it was a virus, how long was she likely to be off for and said: “I’m sorry I’m not sympathetic but I’ve never been pregnant.” She also told Mrs Ferridge-Gunn to ‘stop faffing and go home’.

Employment Judge Benson concluded: “We find that the comments, particularly that she was not sympathetic, were pointed and showed a lack of empathy. And we further draw an inference that Ms Caunt was influenced in her view of [Mrs Ferridge-Gunn] by the fact she was pregnant and having to leave work because she was unwell.”

Mrs Ferridge-Gunn was awarded £2,171.22 for financial losses and £6,000 for injury to feelings.

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