How Christine Gannon, expert Employment Law solicitor based in our Brighton office, worked with a client who was experiencing race discrimination and pregnancy & maternity discrimination in the workplace. She negotiated over £95,000 in compensation on her behalf.
Jenny worked as Marketing Director for a large British multinational company. Jenny was the most senior black member of staff in the UK office and an outstanding performer.
Shortly after taking on the role, Jenny announced her pregnancy to her new line manager, Karen. Karen was initially supportive but Jenny’s colleagues began to notice that there was a hostility in her tone and attitude towards her. Jenny also felt shut down when she raised concerns about diversity issues within the company, including her concern about not withdrawing the white, male CEO for a diversity award when black staff were underrepresented within Head Office and the George Floyd murder verdict had just been announced.
Prior to going on maternity leave in May 2021, Jenny stated that she wanted to be kept updated throughout her leave. Jenny intended to use her Keeping in Touch (KIT) days to attend updates and Board meetings.
Jenny was initially informed about temporary changes to the team as a result of her maternity leave and subsequently that there would be additional investment into the team, which would be positive for everyone.
At the end of November 2021, Jenny was contacted to discuss changes to the team. At the end of the call, her manager indicated that they were considering creating a new VP role but she was discouraged from applying for it. This was devastating to Jenny, who felt this role would be perfect for her next career move. Jenny asked to be kept informed about this new role.
On 13 January 2022, Jenny discovered that the general team changes would diminish her role and that the VP role was being advertised and she had not been informed about this.
On 10 March 2022, Jenny met with Kevin and was informed that her role had changed, and that the VP role had been filled externally.
We helped Jenny raise a grievance in relation to the unfavourable treatment while on maternity leave and less favourable treatment due to her sex and race discrimination. Specifically, the hostile treatment by Karen prior to commencing maternity leave and the failure to notify her and consider her for the VP role. Also the significant reduction of her current role for which she was not notified or provided with any business reason for.
Jenny’s employer subsequently tried to backtrack and said that her role had not changed and was available for her to return to. Jenny did not accept this as it was obvious her responsibilities and duties has been significantly reduced due to the overall team changes.
We submitted claims of race and maternity / pregnancy discrimination on behalf of Jenny, as well as breaches of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations. Jenny did not want to return to work at the end of her maternity leave as trust and confidence had irretrievably broken down and the discriminatory treatment suffered had severely impacted on her mental health and enjoyment of her maternity leave.
We negotiated an early settlement of our client’s claims of £45,732 compensation plus her six months’ notice of £52,790, holiday pay and she was treated as a Good Leaver in relation to the shares she held.
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