Discrimination: Pregnant Employee dismissed after asserting her right to not work more than 48 Hours a week

Employee unfairly dismissed for asserting a statutory right of the working time regulations. 

Mrs Peart (the claimant) was a Care Assistant providing personal care around the clock to a client whom was wheelchair user and as such needed assisting with lifting at timesThe claimants contract of employment limited her hours to “no more than 48 hours a week over a 17 week period”. Included in her contract was a “on call policy” which required the claimant to provide emergency cover if needed.  

In December 2018 the claimant was less than 12 weeks pregnant and had notified her Team LeaderWhilst providing care the client needed assistance outside of the home which entailed lifting, identifying this, the claimant informed her Team Leader whose response was “she had enough on her plate without her (the claimant) pregnancy on top.

  As her pregnancy progressed the claimant informed the respondent that she wished to be relieved of her on call duties as she felt she could not fulfil them and was unhappy with the number of hours she was working. Following this she missed two on call duties, one was due to childcare issues and the other on the advice of her GPAs a result of this instruction she informed her manager that she no longer wanted to work in excess of 48 hours. 

Following Mrs Pearts request her Manager wrote to her to invite her to a meeting to discuss the “issues” and as such following the meeting was summarily dismissed. 

At Employment Tribunal (ET) Ms Peart’s claim for being unfairly dismissed for asserting a statutory right of the working time regulations 1998 succeeded. The ET held that the main reason for her dismissal was her proposal that she would no longer work in excess of the Working time Regulations limit on average working hours.  

The ET considered whether the claimant’s pregnancy was an attribute to her subsequent dismissal. They considered whether her refusal to work in excess of the 48 hours in conjunction with her pregnancy was an effective cause of her dismissal and as such her complaint for unfavourable treatment due to pregnancy also succeeded.  +—

The claimants total reward was £35,924.95. 

Read the full judgement here. 

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