Pregnant Scots worker awarded over £6,000 after being sacked by firm

A pregnant woman has been awarded over £6,000 after being sacked by a Scots firm when she was suffering from extreme morning sickness.

The woman was dismissed from her role at Home Appliance Engineers in Glasgow in August 2021 after phoning in sick for work, an employment tribunal heard.

The hearing ruled in her favour despite her former employer claiming to be unaware of the pregnancy at the time of dismissal.

She was awarded a total of £6,479.30 in compensation after it was found she was discriminated against by the company, Glasgow Live reports.

The employee learnt of her pregnancy in July 2021, and informed her manager, Syma Iqbal, on August 16.

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The hearing statement reads: “The Claimant had booked a holiday to get a tattoo but was unable to do so because of her pregnancy.

“Ms Iqbal asked the Claimant on 16 August 2021 to see the tattoo and the Claimant explained that she had not gone ahead with this because she was pregnant.

“Ms Iqbal congratulated the Claimant and asked if her family was pleased with the news.”

It was then confirmed that Ms Iqbal was shown a scan of the baby two days later on August 18.

Texts were sent by the worker and her mother on August 23 and 24 stating she was unable to work as she “cannot stop being sick and cannot even keep water down”, with the text adding “as you already know she [a reference to the Claimant] is expecting”.

It was later confirmed by a doctor that the woman was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum – a condition that causes severe vomiting while pregnant.

She was provided with certificates from her doctor confirming she was unfit for work from August 26 to November 26.

On August 24, Ms Iqbal sent a text to the worker telling her “‘I would need to let you go’ because there was not enough work for two people and that the Claimant was not ‘very reliable’.”

When the worker argued she was being unfairly dismissed due to her sickness, Ms Iqbal responded: “Am not sacking you because your (sic) pregnant my dad has every right to know.

“The reason is that ur (sic) not reliable turning up to work and there not enough work for two people working at my office so please don’t take this out of context”.

The company argued she was fired due to “a lack of work and the claimant’s alleged unreliability” regarding her timekeeping and attendance.

In their decision to rule in favour of the worker, the tribunal said she was “unfairly dismissed” and “discriminated against”.

It continued: “It was clear from the evidence that it was the Claimant’s absences on 23 and 24 August 2021 which triggered Ms Iqbal’s decision to dismiss.

“There was no evidence to suggest that the Claimant’s employment was in jeopardy prior to this and the immediate proximity of those absences to when the decision to dismiss was made leads the Tribunal to conclude that, on the balance of probabilities, it was these absences which were the operative cause of the decision to dismiss the Claimant and she would not have been dismissed if she had not been absent on those dates. The Tribunal concludes that those absences were as a result of a pregnancy related illness.”

The £6,479.30 awarded to the claimant includes compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

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