Anna McKnight, a tapas restaurant manager, has won over £15,000 in a pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal case against the restaurant in Greenock, Scotland, where she worked.
Ms. McKnight claimed to have been ostracized after she revealed her pregnancy and experienced sickness, leading to fewer shifts being offered to her.
She was surprised and upset when she found out from HR that she had been terminated, and her boss sent her a WhatsApp message saying “no hard feelings.”
The tribunal concluded that Ms. McKnight was discriminated against, and the unexpected decision to dismiss her caused her stress when she was already experiencing illness and other symptoms related to her pregnancy.
Ms. McKnight began working as an assistant manager at Fenwick 47 tapas restaurant in December 2021 and found out she was pregnant with her second child, Goldie, in mid-January 2022.
The general manager at the restaurant, Jonny Carruthers, congratulated her and even joked about being pregnant to avoid drinking. She was due to go on maternity leave in August 2022.
From the end of March 2022, Mr. Carruthers offered Ms. McKnight fewer shifts than before, and when she offered availability for three shifts the following week, she was not put on the rota at all. When she was only offered one shift in May 2022, she sought answers from bosses but couldn’t get hold of HR for four days.
When she did, she was told she had been “P45’d” in a way that suggested any conversation about maternity rights had been superseded. She felt upset and vulnerable, and the way in which her dismissal was implemented was particularly underhand.
Employment Judge Brian Campbell concluded that Ms. McKnight was discriminated against, and there were no other apparent factors in her relationship with Mr. Carruthers, which was friendly and supportive until the end.
The unexpected decision to dismiss her caused her a degree of stress when she was already experiencing illness and other symptoms related to her pregnancy. Ms. McKnight’s claims were won against WBI Ltd, which did not attend the tribunal.
Ms. McKnight hopes her case helps someone in the future, and the whole stigma around women having to go off work due to pregnancy needs to be stamped out.
Companies must support and accommodate women in this position and not take advantage of them while they are vulnerable. She is now living in Glasgow and is currently on maternity leave with her five-month-old son, Goldie, and her four-year-old daughter, Meadow.