Pregnant woman who was sacked from her job after suffering extreme morning wins £6,500 compensation

Pregnant woman who was sacked from her job after suffering the same extreme morning sickness condition as Duchess of Cambridge wins £6,500 in compensation

  • A pregnant woman with extreme morning sickness won £6,500 after being fired
  • She had told her employer only the week before that she was expecting a baby
  • Her manager said she was unaware of the pregnancy at the time of the dismissal

A pregnant woman who was suffering from an extreme morning sickness condition, also suffered by Kate Middleton, was sacked from her job at a Glasgow firm.

The worker was dismissed from her job at Home Appliance Engineers in August 2021 after calling in sick to work, an employment tribunal heard.

The manager claimed to not know of the worker’s pregnancy at the time of her dismissal, however the hearing ruled in her favour, awarding her £6,479.30 in compensation.

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

A pregnant woman was sacked from her job (pictured) while suffering from a version of extreme morning sickness, her employer claimed to be unaware but was ordered to pay £6,479.30 in compensation

Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, famously suffered from extreme morning sickness during her pregnancies, to the point she even went to hospital when pregnant with Prince George (pictured: pregnant with Prince Louis in 2018)

Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, famously suffered from extreme morning sickness during her pregnancies, to the point she even went to hospital when pregnant with Prince George (pictured: pregnant with Prince Louis in 2018)

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.’

What is  hyperemesis gravidarum?

Extreme nausea and vomiting while pregnant could be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum

Extreme nausea and vomiting while pregnant could be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is excessive nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Sickness in pregnancy is common, around 8 out of every 10 pregnant women feel or are sick during pregnancy.

Many women feel sick during pregnancy, but for most this improves or stops completely by around weeks 16 to 20.

If it continues and is very severe, it may be HG. 

Exactly how many pregnant women get HG is not known, but it’s thought to be around 1 to 3 in every 100. 

Unlike regular pregnancy sickness, HG may not get better by 16 to 20 weeks or even until the baby is born.

It’s not known what causes HG, or why some women get it and others do not. Some experts believe it is linked to the changing hormones in your body that occur during pregnancy. 

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 (HG) – a condition that causes severe vomiting while pregnant.

While sickness during pregnancy is common, HG is much less so – it did famously affect the Duchess of Cambridge with all of her pregnancies. 

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 2 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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