A woman who was unfairly discriminated against by her employer after becoming pregnant has won a pay out.Advertisement
Bespoke Digital Agency in Bamber Bridge dismissed Aimee Sanderson from her role in November 2017.
A tribunal upheld the decision made about unfair dismissal after Bespoke applied for a reconsideration hearing.
During a remedy hearing in late May, Ms Sanderson was awarded £25,131 in damages.
The payment comes after Aimee, who started working for the firm in January 2017, said she had suffered ‘extreme stress and unfair treatment’ under the Equality Act 2010.
A tribunal, in February this year, heard a number of complaints about the way Aimee was treated by chief executive Stephen Brennan and head of partnerships Lauren Grice after telling them she had become pregnant.
Aimee told Blog Preston following the decision: “The tribunal been a really tough few years for my family and I particularly in terms of the stress and the financial pressure it has put on all of us but I’m so glad that I’ve seen the process through to the end.
“It affected my pregnancy and for both my husband and I, it caused so much unnecessary stress that our son has likely felt – despite us doing our best to lessen the impact.
“The award is more money than I have ever had in one go and whilst it’s such a huge factor in this process, over time it’s really become mostly about the principle of getting to the end of this and showing this company that what happened to me was absolutely unacceptable.
“The tribunal has listened to what I had to say and they have understood what I have been through.
“I hope that my experience has encouraged anyone who is being discriminated against to stand up for themselves too.”
A spokesman for the firm said: “As you’d imagine, we’re deeply disappointed that a tribunal found in favour of our former teammate, Aimee Sanderson.
“We were shocked that Aimee initiated the tribunal in the first place. When we received the paperwork from her it was the first time we had ever seen a tribunal claim. We didn’t feel it had any merit at all, and during the tribunal hearing, six members of our team and one of Aimee’s own clients gave statements or evidence to support our position.
“As an agency we’re rightly proud of our ethos of doing the right thing and of treating our people well, and so this whole case has had a profound effect upon us and our team. We don’t feel that we’ve had the opportunity to have our say.
“Aimee presented to the tribunal that Bespoke had sought some financial benefit by dismissing her but the tribunal found in our favour on that point. And yet, despite this, they went on to conclude that Aimee was dismissed for some reason outside of the issues with her performance of her duties.
“We take pride at Bespoke at giving people chances. There are so many people we have hired into roles like Aimee’s who have gone on to grow their status, salaries and careers, and remain with us for many years.
“We’re humbled by the way our team approached this issue – even from some of our newer teammates. And clients and contacts too, who offered their support. We even heard from several competitors, who shared their own frustrations about employment tribunal claims, and the emotional toll of fighting them through the court.
“There is real frustration from many small businesses that since the abolition of fees to bring a case to the employment tribunal there’s been such a dramatic increase in claims. Of course, employees deserve to be protected from unfair treatment but that protection needs to run both ways, particularly where small and independently-run business are involved.
“Of course, we can only accept the final decision of the tribunal and move on. We’re grateful to be able to focus fully on supporting our current team as they grow their careers and families. The result of this case actually galvanised our team and perhaps unexpectedly, made the future feel brighter than ever for us.”
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