Pregnancy, Maternity and Sex Discrimination Case Study

11 August 2016

Client Situation

Miss T was referred to our Employment Lawyers by the LGBT charity Stonewall. She had worked for her employer for just under 2 years as an office assistant and notified her employer she was undergoing IVF treatment.

Whilst she was undergoing IVF implantation in hospital her employer recruited a senior office manager without giving Miss T the opportunity to apply for the promotion. Miss T questioned this and was informed that her employer did not think she would be interested in a promotion due to her IVF treatment.

This comment and assumption was potentially discriminatory so Miss T lodged a claim in the Employment Tribunal. As Miss T was undergoing IVF treatment she potentially was protected against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Miss T lodged her claim for discrimination at work. The case was listed for a Preliminary Hearing. She was also offered a Settlement Agreement as she was still employed by her employer with a deadline of a week. Miss T was also issued with a costs warning by her employer on a without prejudice basis.

How We Helped

Miss T asked our Employment Lawyers for urgent legal advice because she was unsure whether to proceed with her Employment Tribunal claim and attend the Preliminary Hearing or accept the Settlement Agreement offer. Miss T was also concerned about the risk of costs and wanted to know if this was a genuine risk or just a scare tactic by the employer.

Miss T decided to instruct us to complete a complex investigation report which was under our fixed fee arrangement of £840 including VAT in order to understand whether she should continue with her discrimination claim.

We reviewed her claims under the Equality Act 2010 for:

  • s11 Sex Discrimination
  • s 13 Direct Sex Discrimination
  • s 18 Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination

As part of our written report we set out the prospects of success of her claims, the value of her claims and options. We also provided a review on the risk of costs.

We also advised Miss T to request an extension to the Settlement Agreement deadline so she could take legal advice. The employer only granted a few extra days extension to their offer. Therefore we completed the report within a week and gave detailed information on Miss T’s expected injury to feelings award which is awarded in workplace discrimination claims so she understood what the value of her claims would be.

The Outcome

Due to our legal advice Miss T was able to agree to the Settlement Agreement offer and obtained a favourable reference to assist her in finding future employment elsewhere, as she agreed to leave their employment.

We helped Miss T get a successful outcome and ensured that her employer agreed not to make a costs application against her so she had no risk of costs. Miss T was happy with the outcome as she found the Employment Tribunal process stressful and did not wish to return to work due to the way her employer treated her.

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