Thursday, 14 April 2011

Govanhill Law Centre client wins sex discrimination case

A Govanhill Law Centre client has recently received payment from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) of £18,357.57 following a successful Employment Tribunal claim.

Mrs. R, who wishes to remain anonymous, raised a claim against her former employer for unfair dismissal as a result of pregnancy, and sex discrimination.

Mrs R had worked for P.I.A on a series of fixed term contracts for around 18 months. She took a period of authorised unpaid leave to attend a family wedding. Mrs R fell ill at the wedding and her husband contacted her employer to advise she would be unable to return on time. Despite the fact she produced a medical certificate, Mrs R was dismissed for gross misconduct on her return to work, without having an opportunity to explain her position. Ms R appealed the decision but her appeal letter was ignored. Mrs R believed that the real reason she had been dismissed was because her employer knew she was pregnant and wanted to use her sick leave as an excuse to dismiss her.

After hearing three days of evidence, the Tribunal found that the true reason Mrs R had been dismissed was because she was pregnant and that she had been unfairly dismissed. The Tribunal held that this constituted an act of sex discrimination, contrary to section 3A(1) (a) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. Mrs R was represented by GhLC solicitor Lindsay Paterson at the hearing.

The Tribunal issued its decision in October 2010, but Mrs R has only recently received her settlement. As a result of the delayed payment, the Respondents were forced to pay additional interest of £237.37 to Mrs R.

Mrs R said: “While I worked at P.I.A. my boss treated me badly. He told me I should wear high heels to look smart and tall. He insulted me in front of my colleagues. I was dismissed after he knew I had fallen pregnant and this caused me a lot of stress and financial worries. My husband and I had to move out of our home as we could not afford the rent".

"I am very happy with the Tribunal decision. I had worked in the travel industry for 7 years and I felt my good reputation had been damaged. I can now hold my head up high and feel confident to apply for jobs in the future. I want to thank Govanhill Law Centre – if it was not for them, I would not have won my case “.

Lorraine Barrie, Associate Solicitor at Govanhill Law Centre said: “We are delighted that our client has now received full payment from her former employer, after a long wait. Our client was very distressed following her dismissal and she suffered significant financial worries when her first baby was on the way. We are pleased that the Tribunal have recognised the significant stress caused to our client by awarding £5,000 for injury to her feelings”.


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