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Pregnant NHS worker wins case after facing workplace pregnancy discrimination

An employment tribunal has ruled an NHS worker was discriminated against after her manager asked “objectively inappropriate and upsetting” questions about her pregnancy. 

The tribunal also stated that comments directed at Haddi Camara during a protected period were objectively unfavourable to her. 

A remedy hearing, to decide whether Haddi should receive compensation and how much compensation, was scheduled for a different day.

Haddi’s line manager, Paulette Douglas-Obobi, initially congratulated Haddi on her pregnancy.

However, one day after her announcement Paulette asked Haddi “did you plan this?” and “will this have to come out of my budget?”, in reference to the cost of maternity leave and other maternity benefits.

One day later, on 27 April 2018,Paulette asked Human Resources if the claimant was entitled as bank staff to the same maternity benefits as a substantive staff member.

That same day, another manager also emailed Human Resources to say “I have a query about a band 4 admin bank staff who does not seem to be working [o]ut well and we have been thinking of replacing her.‘’

Three months later, Haddi had her contract of employment terminated and was given just four weeks’ notice.

Earlier this month, a mother of two was awarded over £17,000 by an employment tribunal after being fired from her position at beauty firm Liz Earle while she was eight months pregnant.

Sadly, cases of maternity discrimination like these have become prevalent in recent years.

A report from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy estimates that as many as 54,000 women each year may be fired or otherwise lose their role because of pregnancy or motherhood. 

It also found that over three-quarters percent of pregnant women and new mothers in the workforce experience some form of discrimination or negative treatment during pregnancy, maternity leave and return to work from leave. This is up from 45% of women in 2005.

Additionally, only around a quarter (28%) of those women raised the issue with their employer, only 3% went through their employer’s internal grievance procedure, and less than 1% pursued a claim to the employment tribunal.

The 1% who do go ahead to an employment tribunal are often ‘sacked and silenced’.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“Negative workplace attitudes towards pregnancy and motherhood could pressure women to have an abortion they may otherwise not have had. No woman should have to face such pressure.

“Cases like these are, sadly, becoming commonplace and just further proof that the culture needs to change to support mothers in the workplace.

“Ahead of the election, tens of thousands of our supporters urged MP candidates to sign the Both Lives Pledge, which outlined three policy changes designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women.

“We will continue to work closely with parliamentarians to campaign for positive changes and are hopeful that Mrs Larkin’s case will send a strong message to employers and colleagues that they should be considering how they can better support pregnant women in the workplace.”

Dear reader,

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