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Mother wins £90K in sex discrimination claim after employer asks age of her children then withdraws job offer

In the case of Mrs FL v R & F Properties QS (UK) Co., Ltd, a mother won over £90,000 in a sex discrimination case after a London employer rescinded her job offer upon learning her children’s ages. The employment tribunal found the questioning inappropriate and ruled in her favour, highlighting discrimination concerns.

In the case of Mrs FL v R & F Properties QS (UK) Co., Ltd a mother has won over £90,000 in a sex discrimination case after a London employer rescinded her job offer upon learning the ages of her children.

Mrs FL was unexpectedly questioned by Wenting Zhu, Vice President of the London property firm R & F Properties QS, about her children’s ages during a meeting. This inquiry was deemed irrelevant to the discussion at hand, as heard by the employment tribunal. Days after Mrs FL resigned from her previous position to accept a new role at R & F Properties QS, Zhu withdrew the £68,500 a year job offer.

R & F Properties QS, headquartered in China with an office in Vauxhall, had formally offered Mrs FL a senior marketing manager position on September 27, 2022. However, on October 20, 2022, Mrs FL was asked to attend what the tribunal described as a “fresh interview” via Microsoft Teams with Zhu. During this meeting, Mrs FL mentioned that her children were four years old and nearly one year old.

Six days later, the job offer was rescinded, and Mrs FL was given one week’s notice. Mrs FL left the interview feeling “deflated, confused, and frightened” and was concerned that Zhu’s comments would lead to the job being taken away, according to the London South Employment Tribunal. She was distressed about becoming unemployed after leaving her stable job.

R & F Properties QS claimed that they could not employ Mrs FL due to a “freeze on headcount” mandated from China. They also argued that the question about her children was meant to “build rapport.” However, Employment Judge Musgrave-Cohen rejected the company’s defence and ruled in Mrs FL’s favour, awarding her £91,597. The tribunal concluded that Mrs FL would not have been asked the same question if she were a man.

The tribunal stated, “She was the primary breadwinner in the family and had young children, including one under one year of age. Losing her job caused panic, humiliation, and upset due to the instability the unexpected news caused, making her worry about whether she should hide the fact she has young children from prospective employers.”

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24 July 2024

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