Pregnant hairdresser's claim to be reheard

Posted: 11th December 2012

A discrimination claim by a hairdresser who says that she was treated as a nuisance in her workplace due to her pregnancy will have to be reheard after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) identified a number of errors in an employment tribunal’s decision to uphold her case.

The tribunal had awarded the woman £5,000 in compensation for breaches of the Equality Act 2010, as well as arrears of wages and holiday pay, after accepting her arguments that she had been unfairly dismissed by employers who had made her feel belittled and intimidated and had viewed her pregnancy as a ‘spanner in the works’.EAT

Allowing the employer’s appeal against that decision, the EAT ruled that the tribunal had misinterpreted parts of the evidence and had plainly erred in accepting that the woman had notified the hair salon’s director of her pregnancy in accordance with the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999. In those circumstances, the tribunal had no jurisdiction to determine whether the woman had in fact been entitled to statutory maternity leave/pay.

Directing a re-hearing of the woman’s claim by a fresh employment tribunal, the EAT said that, once the ‘erroneous considerations’ that had been taken into account by the tribunal were removed, her case on discrimination was apparently thin. The tribunal had also failed to adequately deal with the employer’s argument that her dismissal was unrelated to her pregnancy and was justified by her lengthy periods of absence from work.