Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pregnancy Discrimination – the grim statistics

Amazing as it may sound in the 21st Century, the Equal Opportunities Commission has reported that 45% of women employees interviewed in a survey claimed to have suffered less favourable treatment as a result of pregnancy.

This would suggest 30,000 lost jobs per year and a consequent "saving" of Statutory Maternity Pay of £12 million pounds.

None of this will come as a surprise to practising employment lawyers who will have many tales to tell of clients who have fallen pregnant only to mysteriously find themselves "redundant" or subject to previously unheard of disciplinary action or performance management.

The Devil's Advocate might suggest that this is the inevitable consequence of the increasing regulatory burden on employers in this area but the loss of talented and experienced staff to employers must surely be a greater detriment than the cost of family-friendly policies in this area.

For more details see

Follow the Rules or Pay the Penalty

The Birmingham Employment Tribunal has recently had to apply the new statutory provisions relating to failure to follow the Disciplinary Procedures required by the Employment Act 2002.

The rules require minimum procedures including written advance notification of the grounds for the disciplinary action and a fairly conducted meeting in order for a dismissal to be fair.

Where the procedure is not followed not only will the dismissal automatically be unfair but also the damages will be increased by a minimum of 10% and a maximum of 50%.

In the recent case the Claimant was dismissed without warning whilst in the car with his boss on a 2 day sales field trip, ostensibly for poor performance.

The Respondent tried to argue that the minimum uplift should be applied because it had not been rude to the Claimant. We successfully argued that the Tribunal should apply the maximum 50% uplift, which increased the damages by over £3500.00.

The Tribunal held that the purpose of the rule was not to compensate the employee for injury to feelings or to punish the employer but to reflect the seriousness of the departure from the required procedure. Since there had been no attempt to go about things in the correct manner a full uplift was appropriate.
Another good example of how costly trying to cut corners can be!