A mortgage company worker has won a £15,000 payout after her boss told her she “must have been having some fun lately” when announcing her pregnancy
Image: Getty Images)
A finance worker has won a £15,000 payout after her male boss remarked that she “must have been having some fun lately” when she told him she was pregnant.
Company boss George Dodds initially ignored Bianca King after she told him she was pregnant before making the inappropriate comment alluding to her sex life.
He then told her she would be fired before withdrawing the notice when she told him she was taking maternity leave, a labor tribunal heard.
In the months that followed, he began yelling at the mortgage manager, once making her cry after criticizing her in a video conference in front of colleagues.
Mr Dodd’s treatment of her left Miss King was stressed before the birth of her first child and she had to see her GP because of her increasing anxiety.
(Getty Images/Blend Images)
The tribunal has now ruled that she was a victim of pregnancy discrimination and awarded her compensation of £15,009.84.
The hearing, which took place in Cambridge, was told that Miss King had worked as a clerk for Mr Dodd’s Northampton-based firm Mortgage Compare since September 2016.
In October 2018, she emailed Mr Dodds telling him she was pregnant and her baby was due in early March 2019. Mr Dodds did not confirm the email.
About a week later, Miss King asked for leave. Granting this over the phone, Mr Dodds confirmed her pregnancy for the first time, telling her she “must have been having some fun lately”.
The court heard Mr Dodds requested a meeting with Miss King at the office in December 2018, at which he handed her a letter stating she would be “dismissed with immediate effect”.
Mr Dodds told her the company was struggling financially and could no longer ‘hold’ it. No other employee was given such information.
He then took the letter back when she said she was going on maternity leave in four months, saying: “It changes everything. I didn’t realize it was so early,” the tribunal heard.
Labor judge Martin Bloom said: “It is obvious … that termination is imminent [Miss King] was only given to her as a result of telling her that she was pregnant.
In December 2018, Miss King emailed Mr Dodds referring to the letter and her belief that she was being “discriminated against” because of her pregnancy status.
The tribunal heard Mr Dodds then begin to criticize Miss King.
He emailed her about her lunch breaks, telling her to “please make sure you leave on time and come back by 2pm,” although her timing had never been an issue before.
The court heard he accused her of not sending emails and yelled at her on separate occasions.
Judge Bloom observed: “This form of conduct is directed at [Miss King] from Mr. Dodds had not been in evidence before [her] Pregnancy.
On such an occasion [she] was so upset she had to leave a group video call and went to the bathroom in tears.”
In January 2019, Miss King met with Mr Dodds to discuss her application to claim her 2019 leave entitlement before she went on maternity leave. Mr Dodds agreed but described her request as “cheeky”.
Judge Bloom said: “That was, in our view, an inappropriate comment and was compounded by the fact that that was the case [her] last working day before taking leave and subsequent maternity leave.”
When Miss King returned to work in late January 2019, the court heard her computer was shut down, she was denied access to all systems and told she was “not required to work”.
She had to sit around for several hours before she was allowed to go home.
In February 2019, Miss King attempted to contact Mr Dodds about non-payment of her maternity benefit but her inquiries “were largely ignored”.
In April 2019, Mr Dodds informed Miss King that all staff would be converted to ‘self-employed status’.
The tribunal heard she had emailed Mr Dodds asking for more information, only to receive a reply which said: “I’m not surprised.
They’ve been looking for a way to accuse us of this (the termination of their employment) for months.”
Miss King never returned to work for Mr Dodds, the tribunal heard.
Judge Bloom said: “These acts of unfavorable treatment were carried out by [Mr Dodds] there [Miss King] had informed them that she was pregnant and was taking and subsequently taking maternity leave.
“There is no legitimate or even plausible alternative to this treatment.
“We have taken note of that [Miss King] was very upset by the events.
“Her pregnancy was her first pregnancy and she was really looking forward to the birth of her child. [She] was no doubt not only upset by what had happened, but stressed.
“Eventually she had to see her GP and was prescribed medication for anxiety and stress.
“At a time when she should have been looking forward to the birth of her child, she had to deal with the events … and a subsequent deterioration in her health.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/woman-wins-15000-payout-after-26866121 Woman wins £15,000 payout after boss makes sex jokes about her being pregnant