Mother dismissed on maternity leave awarded more than £60k

A mother who was dismissed during her maternity leave while the ownership of her company changed hands has won her discrimination claim.

Mrs Rodin worked for HR company DMS1 and went on maternity leave in June 2017.

During her absence, the company underwent a change in ownership, with Dhillons Management Services taking over, although this company was also owned by the same people.

Mrs Rodin stopped receiving her maternity payments in August 2017 and contacted DMS1.

She was told that she had been dismissed from her role at DMS1, and that she could come and work for the new company Dhillons, but she would lose any maternity pay and benefits.

She was also told to ‘go to the Job Centre for any future money’.

Rodin did this but was told that because she was on maternity leave with DMS1, they were unable to assist, and it was the company that should be paying her.

She tried to contact managing director of both DMS1 and Dhillons Management Services, Mr Dhillon, but he did not respond.

The stress caused Mrs Rodin to become depressed, and she told the Employment Tribunal that she and her new-born daughter were ‘constantly crying’.

She saw her GP who prescribed her sleeping pills but after six months she was also put on a course of antidepressants and sent to therapy sessions.

The tribunal heard that this was the ‘worst time in her life’ as she was not able to enjoy the time with her baby daughter.

In contrast, a representative of Dhillons, told the tribunal: “It is unfair, why should I pick up the bill? Imagine it was the other way round, I hope you can see.”

However, the tribunal ruled in favour of Mrs Rodin.

Judge Sage noted in her summary that the companies DMS1 and Dhillons were “not unsophisticated” and in their roles as HR experts “there was no excuse for not knowing the law”.

She added: "Mrs Rodin had no job during her maternity leave and this had a detrimental and adverse impact upon her health and wellbeing, and this adversely impacted her ability to feed her child, which caused additional distress.”

Both companies were awarded to pay a total of £50,720 to Mrs Rodin for pregnancy and maternity discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Ms Sandhu, who worked as the office manager for Dhillons, and was a relative of the managing director Mr Dhillon, told the tribunal that Mrs Rodin had only attended the therapy sessions to ‘provide back-up for a big pay day’.

In response to these accusations, the award to Mrs Rodin was increased by £12,500 for injury to feelings.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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