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Case Study: Pregnancy & Maternity Discrimination & Judicial Mediation

Mind The Bump


How Martin Searle Solicitors helped a Sales Executive secure compensation for pregnancy and maternity discrimination using mediation.

The situation

Maria was employed as a Sales Executive at Make-us-Up Ltd. Maria was highly successful in her role and built relationships with some of the country’s leading stockists.

Maria emailed her managers to announce that she was pregnant. Although they replied to congratulate her, she noticed a change of attitude towards her. Maria’s managers failed to reply to her calls and emails promptly, and the owner of the business no longer congratulated Maria when she continued to exceed sales targets.

‎Maria was then given an informal warning for arriving at work 10 minutes late, even though her start time had always been flexible.‎

A new intermediate level of management was appointed above her before Maria went on maternity leave. Maria was not consulted or considered for the role. Maria went on maternity leave feeling apprehensive about her job security.

When she returned to work after maternity leave, she discovered that her long term clients had been managed by new junior staff, and there was no intention of giving these back to her.

Maria’s colleagues were also given first preference over new leads, leaving Maria with fewer, less lucrative opportunities.

Maria was isolated and on one occasion was told to stay in the office and answer the phones, while all of her colleagues were sent to a large sales exhibition in Birmingham. Feeling extremely insecure, Maria looked at some emails and found evidence that her managers were considering various ways in which to terminate her employment.

This caused her to access her manager’s computer where she found emails going back to when she had announced her pregnancy which showed that her managers were negative about it. Maria was so upset about this breach of trust in confidence that she had to take sick leave.

Maria saw that Martin Searle Solicitors were running a Pregnancy and Maternity Campaign and rang for advice.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Maria attended our Shoreham office and we helped her to raise a grievance about discrimination. This set out the full history of how Maria had been treated, drawing a comparison with her employment before announcing her pregnancy and taking maternity leave.

As Maria was too ill to attend her grievance, we arranged for the grievance investigation to be dealt with using written questions and answers.

Maria’s grievance was rejected and we helped her resign and assert constructive unfair dismissal.

Fortunately, Maria had legal expenses insurance and we ensured that this funding was put in place to cover all her legal fees at the point of resignation.

Her former employer did not offer a settlement during Acas Early Conciliation and so we issued her claims in the Employment Tribunal.

We alleged pregnancy and maternity discrimination, detriment and constructive unfair dismissal. We also included an equal pay claim because the newly recruited Sales Executives were earning a higher salary than Maria, for doing the same work.

We agreed to attend judicial mediation to see if this would result in a speedier settlement. Make-us-Up Ltd only made derisory offers and no agreement was reached. However, we felt the fact that they opted for judicial mediation signified a willingness to settle.

The result

After the judicial mediation we continued negotiating with Make-us-Up’s solicitors and achieved a settlement worth one year’s losses together with a positive employment reference.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy or maternity leave, contact us today on 01273 609911, or email

Martin Searle Solicitors, 9 Marlborough Place, Brighton, BN1 1UB
T: 01273 609 991

Martin Searle Solicitors is the trading name of ms solicitors ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and is registered in England under company number 05067303.

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