RSS Feed

Legal Updates

More Articles: Latest Popular Archives

Admin assistant awarded £15,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal after falling pregnant

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead Burton

In the case of Miss C Leitch v CIS Services Limited Charlotte Leitch joined the firm, which designs, installs and maintains customer information and security systems in the rail industry, as an administrative assistant on May 21, 2021.

On Wednesday, June 23, Ms Leitch – who had yet to complete and sign her contract – told her supervisor she was unable to work because she needed to attend hospital as she was pregnant.

The next day, the firm’s head of compliance Nicola Calder held an informal meeting with Ms Leitch, who explained she previously had miscarriages and was not sure if this pregnancy would be successful.

Ms Calder then informed the claimant that she had not signed her contract of employment and so “we have no obligation to keep you on,” the tribunal heard.

After taking legal advice, Ms Leitch sent an email stating: “An email sent from Nicola suggests that I volunteered to leave due to a previous traumatic experience. This is not the case and by revealing to Nicola my previous miscarriage, had this used against me. I find this extremely disrespectful to use my grief as a potential get out of keeping me under the company’s employment.

“I agreed to leave as I felt pressurised to do so and felt that I had no rights to argue.”

The company claimed the decision was made “irrespective” of Ms Leitch being pregnant and “categorically” denied discrimination.

In defence, CIS Services pointed to another pregnant employee, a bookkeeper, who had been retained after returning from maternity leave.

However, a judge found the claims against the firm were “well-founded” and ordered the company to pay Ms Leitch £14,884.90

In their ruling, the judge said: “Suddenly without warning on June 24, 2021, the claimant was without a job. She felt worthless, she was worried about the effect on her unborn child. The claimant was hurt and distressed by the decision to dismiss.”

Receive more HR related news and content with our monthly Enewsletter (Ebrief)