Aggravated damages awarded to employee dismissed unfairly

BTMK are extremely pleased to announce that having recently represented a Claimant who was discriminated against due to her pregnancy, the Claimant received significant awards as compensation.

Mrs Walker worked for Arco Environmental Limited for a total period of one month. During this time, she discovered she was pregnant and informed the management of the business. Following this, Mrs Walker’s treatment changed and she was ignored by the owner and his wife. She was also asked by the Managing Director if she knew she was pregnant when she took the job. She raised concerns about how she felt but these were not responded to. She was then told that her hours of work were changing and they wanted her to consider changing her working days.

Mrs. Walker subsequently resigned referring in her resignation to the main acts of discrimination she had suffered.

Mrs Walker, with the assistance of BTMK Solicitors, has been successful in claims for automatic unfair dismissal, pregnancy discrimination, harassment related to sex, breach of contract and failure to supply a written particulars of employment.

At all stages of the proceedings, Arco strongly denied the claims. It was suggested in witness statements that Mrs Walker had concocted a situation to bring about a claim and had pre-planned her resignation. The owner’s wife, Mrs Rees, accused Mrs Walker of being a “vile person” who made up “disgusting lies”. At the Tribunal hearing, however, Arco’s witnesses admitted that the atmosphere had changed significantly and all the directors had a significant problem with Mrs Walker’s pregnancy.

Mr & Mrs Rees both gave evidence in which they made derogatory remarks about Mrs Walker and her conduct. Mrs Rees said Mrs Walker “was the type of girl who will be undoing her buttons on her top to get her next job”. This conduct was deliberately designed to humiliate Mrs Walker through character assassination.

Mrs Walker was awarded her loss, injury to feelings grossed up to £16,500 and aggravated damages grossed up to £7,920 plus interest.

Kristie Willis, a Solicitor in our Employment Department has this to say:

“Employees and employers should remember that there is no continuous service requirement for a discrimination claim and even job applicants can bring claims for discrimination. Employees should seek legal advice as soon as possible if they believe they are being discriminated against. The protected characteristics for discrimination are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

If employers do not know how to deal with employees who have the protected characteristics or receive complaints of discrimination, they should seek urgent legal advice.”

We are delighted with the outcome on behalf of our client in what has been an extremely difficult set of circumstances.  We’ve been delighted to have been able to provide our expert advice and support to our client and as one of the only remaining specialist employment law teams in South Essex, we can help employees and employers alike when faced with a situation such as this.

Eilise Walker had this to say about the exceptional work that Kristie carried out on her behalf:

“The services I received from BTMK were exceptional. My solicitor, Kristie Willis was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Throughout the process she was clear and concise about options available to me, in an area that was completely unfamiliar to me. 

Our barrister Safia, employed via BTMK was also brilliant at her role. The link between Safia and Kristie in relation to information, preparation, during and after continues to be at a high standard. I would highly recommend them for their services. “

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