A CHEF was fired for taking three weeks leave after an ectopic pregnancy – and has now won £17,000.
Her employer also falsified records to hide not paying her sick leave, leaving her unable to claim benefits in the meantime.
Her leave was certified as a pregnancy related sickness, and according to the law, she was therefore entitled to take as much leave as necessary without any detriment to her employment.
She had been working for Hanley’s Restaurant in East Riding, Yorkshire, for five months and as a chef for four years when she was fired in November 2019.
Hannah, who has since had a baby boy, said: "I felt used and betrayed by my employer Sean Hanley, I asked for my monies owed and a valid reason for firing me.
"As he couldn’t provide one, I felt I had no other option but to bring my case forward and fight. Even at my most broken and vulnerable point I felt I had to fight for this gross wrongdoing."
The traumatic ectopic pregnancy made her very unwell and left her having to cope with strong medication
As well as this, she had to deal with the stress of being abruptly fired and was forced to opt for a much more junior job below her pay grade as a kitchen porter as a last resort.
And for almost two years, she has been fighting her case in court since November 2019.
Hanley's slowed down court proceedings by missing three court dates and not attending the final hearing, by which time it was decided that the case would be struck out, with her being awarded £12,000 for injury to feelings and £5,000 for her sick pay and potential lost earnings.
"I hope this is not only a warning to employers but a big plus to any women who feel they have been wronged. If it feels wrong – it probably is.
"The relief to know that it has been officially recognised and noted that I was treated poorly is hugely healing," Ms Pawley added.
Daniel Vulliamy, a volunteer employment caseworker for Citizens Advice who represented Hannah said: "Bad employers need to be held to account, Hannah has struck a blow for her own family and for all women wanting to have babies".
Even at my most broken and vulnerable point, I felt I had to fight for this gross wrongdoing
Taryn Robinson from Pregnant Then Screwed (PTS), a charity working to end the motherhood penalty said: "We hear of women being forced out of their jobs following a miscarriage time and time again.
"Sadly these women rarely use the law to access the justice they deserve as they simply don't have the emotional energy. Employers need to do so much better to ensure their workplaces are fair and safe environments for everyone."
"For anyone that this has happened to, cases like Hannah’s show that you are not alone and can stand up for your rights. "
One third of employers have said they won’t hire women of childbearing age and, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, one in nine women a year are forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy or for taking maternity leave.
If you are experiencing pregnancy or maternity discrimination, please contact the free PTS helpline on 0161 2229879.
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