We read in a recent news article about a bar manager who was forced to quit her job by the boss when she revealed that she was pregnant. The boss was quoted as calling her “fat and wobbly”. Then she and her partner were then told to move out of the gastro-pub accommodation where they had lived for 5 months. She lives in Solihull. Employment lawyers are bring a tribunal claim on her behalf and the case continues.
The employee claims that she was dismissed for becoming pregnant although her employer said she has left her job “by mutual consent”.
The employee, from Solihull, described how her boss responded by swearing and telling her not to expect maternity pay, then he told her that if she formally handed in her resignation he would pay her notice pay. She replied to say that she had never intended to resign and wanted to continue working in the pub until she started maternity leave.
The law says that pregnant women have rights to health and safety protection at work, which may be violated by a boss who subjects an employee to pressure and abuse. Also, pregnant women must be treated no less favourably than their male colleagues. They must certainly not be dismissed because they are pregnant. An employer who forces you to leave and dresses it up as a resignation or a departure “by mutual consent” will find that the departure is treated as a dismissal.
The employee in this case stands to be awarded injury to feelings of say £10,000 plus compensation for loss of pay whilst off work if she proves her case.
We at Hatton James Legal have fought many such cases in the past and have usually managed to extract settlements from the employers.
We will post an update here when it is available.
By Asam MahmoodRead More
You may have read in a recent BBC report that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that an employer did nothing wrong when reading a worker’s private Yahoo Messenger chats sent from a work account, employment solicitors Hatton James report.
The employer had clear rules that permitted it to check employee’s online activities and they offered adequate protection against unfettered snooping, they said.
The Romanian employer learned that the employee was using the chat feature for personal as well as professional use and sacked him. It was held to be proportionate to check the logs as part of the disciplinary investigation because the policy warned that this was a possibility.
The worker also complained about the employer reading messages sent from his private Yahoo account but the judgment did not deal with this claim.
The case is relevant to UK employers because under the UK is bound by similar rules – to be found in the Data Protection Act as interpreted for employers in the Information Commissioner’s Code of practice on monitoring at work.
This doesn’t actually change UK law but reminds us that employers should be clear about their monitoring policies in the employee handbook and disciplinary policy. Employment solicitors routinely advise their clients that being clear about employees’ privacy expectations at work means they arm themselves with a defence against claims of unfairness during the disciplinary process and against claims of data protection breaches that can drive up the cost and hassle of dealing with employee issues.
The law is complicated in this area but employers should only start looking into private communications if they have grounds to suspect breaches of disciplinary policy or have some other good reason and even then their monitoring should go no further than necessary for their investigation.
Employment solicitors are increasingly seeing that many disciplinary cases are being brought based on facebook comments made by employees about employers, managers and colleagues.Read More