Maternity leave paralegal wins £18,000 after she was made redundant after falling pregnant three times in as many years
- A tribunal ruled her dismissal had been ‘unfair’ and awarded damages to her
A paralegal who spent two years on maternity leave and then was made ‘redundant’ when she announced she was pregnant again within three months of returning to work has won more than £18,000.
Farzana Yasin became pregnant three times in as many years working at a law firm, an employment tribunal heard.
After giving birth in October 2018 she extended her period of leave the following August to continue caring for her child.
Just weeks later she revealed she was pregnant a second time with a due date in January 2020.
She eventually returned from ‘back to back’ maternity leave in November that year – only to announce in January that she was once again pregnant.
Farzana Yasin was made redundant from her £18,000 a year job at Swift Lawyers Ltd, Bolton,
Weeks later, in March 2021, her female boss made her redundant from her £18,000 a year job at Swift Lawyers Ltd, Bolton, with the firm insisting it had ‘nothing to do’ with her pregnancy.
Miss Yasin won claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy at the tribunal in Manchester.
She has now been awarded a total of £18,792.26 in compensation including £15,000 for injury to feelings.
The hearing was told Miss Yasin joined the firm as a paralegal working on CWI (Cavity Wall Installation) and PI (personal injury) claims in December 2017, becoming a ‘model employee’ and was a ‘grafter’.
After giving birth in October the following year, she was due to come back to work in August 2019 but delayed her return when her child developed ‘serious’ health complications.
The tribunal heard she felt ‘pressured’ by her bosses to come back despite the infant’s condition.
She gave birth to her second child in January 2020 before returning to work in early November the following year.
Miss Yasin was then furloughed in early 2021 at the onset of the national lockdown so she could shield with her vulnerable child.
On January 19 she sent an email to her manager, Michelle Abbott, telling her that she was, once again, pregnant.
After a delay in responding, Mrs Abbott replied to congratulate her, explaining it was already being discussed by the firm’s staff before she made the announcement.
In March, Mrs Abbott told Miss Yasin she was being made redundant, citing a drop in revenue from CWI cases, and insisted it was not influenced by her pregnancy.
When Miss Yasin asked to join another area of the business she was told there was ‘just nothing’ available.
And she was denied a request to work as a conveyance assistant – despite the firm hiring for such a position months later.
Employment judge Joanne Elizabeth Dunlop said Miss Yasin’s pregnancy meant employers were ‘not interested’ in avoiding redundancy.
Judge Dunlop said: ‘[Swift Lawyers Ltd] acted outside the band of reasonable responses in relation to… its obligation to consider suitable alternative employment.
‘For those reasons, we find that the dismissal was unfair.
‘When Miss Yasin announced her third pregnancy there was a delay in any response from [her manager]. It is evident, however, that the fact of her pregnancy was being discussed in the office.
‘We consider that Miss Yasin has proven facts from which it is possible to conclude, in the absence of an alternative explanation from [Swift], that both [Swift’s] failure to engage in genuine and meaningful consultation, and its failure to consider Miss Yasin for the role of conveyancing assistant were on the grounds of her pregnancy.
‘If [the company] had offered her a role as a conveyancing assistant, or found some other work which would have enabled her to remain employed there would have been an almost immediate need to backfill that work due to her starting her third maternity.
‘They were not interested in seeking ways to avoid the redundancy.
‘There was going to be a need for further assistance in the conveyancing department. A new assistant was recruited in June 2021, despite assurances given to Miss Yasin that there was no need for an assistant.
‘We consider those circumstances give rise to an inference that Miss Yasin would have been treated differently if she had not been pregnant.
‘The facts set out above are, in our view, sufficient for Miss Yasin to demonstrate that her pregnancy played a part in [Swift’s] decision to dismiss her.’
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