Woman wins discrimination case over extension of probation period when she was pregnant

Maternity leave


An employee whose probation period was extended after she revealed that she was pregnant was treated to unfavourable treatment due to her pregnancy, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Charlotte Kimberley was hired as a contracts administrator at Calibre Building Services Limited in June 2016.

Five days before her first day she took a home pregnancy test and received a positive result. On the same day Kimberley telephoned her recruitment agency and told them she was pregnant and asked if she could still begin her new job. The agency said this was fine.

Kimberley later confided in work colleagues that she was pregnant and had a meeting with her office manager in July where she alleged that the office manager was very surprised and said that she was unsure what effect pregnancy would have on Kimberley’s employment and her continuation in her role.

Kimberley’s first probation period was extended due to performance issues and then extended again in December. That month Kimberley’s manager had a meeting with her where the manager told her she thought the Agency was a disgrace and claimed Kimberley had lied to her and not told her the truth about her pregnancy. She then wrote to the Agency. Her letter to Kimberley extending the probation stated: “It has been brought to my attention that you were aware of your pregnancy when you accepted the role as Contracts Administrator within Calibre Building Services Ltd. If this is correct, I am extremely disappointed that you chose not to discuss this directly with me but instead to discuss this information openly with my team. You have put them all in a very difficult position of keeping this fact from me. If my
understanding of the situation is incorrect, please let me know.”

The tribunal ruling states: “We are entirely satisfied that the Claimant’s pregnancy was an effective cause of her probationary period being extended for a second time and that the Claimant was therefore, again, subjected to unfavourable treatment because of her pregnancy.”

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