Pregnant law firm case worker who was told to resign wins £32,000

Law firm case worker who was told to resign when she became pregnant and was pestered by her boss with calls as she went into labour wins £32,000 payout

  • Evgjenije Pretini Shala was told by manager Rashid Khan she was not ‘fit to work’
  • She joined the Rashid Law Firm, Wimbledon in 2016 as an assistant case worker 

A law firm case worker who was told to resign when she became pregnant and was pestered with calls as she went into labour has been awarded £32,000.

When Evgjenije Pretini Shala became pregnant, her manager Rashid Khan suggested she should leave the Rashid Law Firm in Wimbledon as she was ‘no longer fit to work’, a tribunal heard.

But when she refused, he demoted her to an admin role, subjected her to constant ‘micro-aggressions’ and moved her to an ‘extremely hot’ room without a window in mid-summer.

During her pregnancy, Mr Khan was ‘difficult and rude’ when she had to attend scans and appointments, and he and his staff even called her four times after she went into labour.

Mrs Shala won a claim of unfair treatment due to her pregnancy at an employment tribunal in London, where Mr Khan was ordered to pay £26,600, after she resigned from the £17,000 a year job.

When Evgjenije Pretini Shala became pregnant, her manager Rashid Khan suggested she should leave the Rashid Law Firm in Wimbledon (pictured)

The tribunal, led by employment judge Lisa Clarke, also found she had been paid below the minimum wage by £5,120, and underpaid during her maternity leave by £261.

The tribunal heard Mrs Shala, who moved to the country from Kosovo in 2014, joined Rashid Law Firm in 2016, where she progressed to an assistant case worker.

When she was 11 weeks pregnant in July 2018, she told Mr Khan who allegedly ‘interrupted’ her and said she should resign as she was ‘not fit to work and would not be able to cope with the stress’.

Later that month, responding to texts from Mrs Shala informing him of upcoming scans, he said: ‘I already told you if you are not feeling well and not able to perform your duties, then you are free to give me a month notice.’

When Mrs Shala failed to resign, Mr Khan ‘effectively demoted’ her, the tribunal found, by making her do administrative tasks instead of case work.

In August he moved her to an ‘extremely hot’ area of the office, enclosed by glass with no air conditioning or windows, which the tribunal found was ‘particularly unsuitable’ for a pregnant woman.

And on a daily basis Mrs Shala was subjected to ‘micro-aggressions’ by Mr Khan who would repeatedly ‘micro-manage’ and ‘nitpick’ at her work.

He made her provide daily reports summarising the work she had done and told her ‘not to leave her seat or talk to anyone’ during the working day.

On January 23 2019 when Mrs Shala went into labour, Mr Khan tried to call her four times while she was in hospital, causing her added stress.

Judge Clarke determined that Mr Khan’s treatment of Mrs Shala was ‘materially different’ to how he treated her before she was pregnant.

She said: ‘It is apparent that at no stage was [Mrs Shala] paid close to the national minimum wage.

‘The failure to pay [her] the national minimum wage occurred throughout her employment, both before and after the commencement of the tribunal claim and occurred in respect of each monthly wage payment that she received.

When she refused to quit, Ms Shala was demoted her to an admin role and subjected to micro-aggressions (file image)

‘On the basis of the findings of fact, [we are] satisfied that the [Mr Khan] did the following acts which amounted to unfavourable treatment of [Mrs Shala]… because of her pregnancy.

‘On July 12 2018 [he] told [her] she must resign and that she was not fit to work anymore.

‘After being informed of her pregnancy, [Mr Khan] effectively demoted [her] from case work assistant to admin staff by changing her duties.

‘He no longer allocated her new casework and placed her on post duties.

‘His inaction in changing her duties led to a short-term increase in [her] workload through at least the remainder of July 2018 and into August 2018 as she was required to continue her existing case work and take on the new post work.

‘On various dates and on a number of separate occasions [Mr Khan] moved [Mrs Shala’s] desk allocation including in July to August 2018 when he placed her into a hot, unventilated and unairconditioned room unsuitable for a pregnant woman.

‘[Mr Khan] was difficult and rude about (her] absences for pregnancy related scans and appointments.

‘He increasingly micro-managed [her], going beyond his micro-managing of other employees.

‘This included requiring [her] to provide daily reports as to her work done…. and telling [her] on December 7, 2018 that she was not to leave her seat or speak to anyone during working hours.

‘Similarly, [Mrs Shala] also complained of a number of other acts of [Mr Khan] which might be broadly described as ‘nitpicking’.

‘[Mr Khan] failed to confirm [her] dates for maternity leave and her entitlement to, and rate of, maternity pay despite requests from her.

‘He failed to handle her grievance appropriately or sensitively in that he determined the grievance without giving her a reasonable opportunity to attend a grievance meeting.

‘[Mr Khan] told Mr Terziu to phone [Mrs Shala] about the grievance on January 24, 2019.

‘During that call [Mrs Shala] advised Mr Terziu she was on maternity leave and she told him she had not yet given birth.

‘She then received a further four phone calls from [Mr Khan] or Mr Terziu on January 29, the day she gave birth, whilst she was in labour which caused her to be stressed.’

The tribunal awarded Mrs Shala a total of £26,606 for injury to feelings plus £5,381.55 in lost wages.

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