A Chef Was Unfairly Sacked For An Ectopic Pregnancy - And Took Her Employer To Court

·2-min read
Photo credit: RUNSTUDIO - Getty Images
Photo credit: RUNSTUDIO - Getty Images

Hannah Pawley, a chef from East Yorkshire, has been awarded £17,000 in compensation after she was sacked for taking sick leave while recovering from an ectopic pregnancy.

Although she was entitled by law to take as much leave as necessary, Pawley was dismissed from Hanley's Restaurant in Driffield while she was still ill, heard Leeds Employment Tribunal.

According to the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, which campaigns on issues affecting pregnant and working mothers, Pawley was 'abruptly fired' and was not paid sick leave.

The charity also revealed that Pawley's employer allegedly purposefully falsified records to hide the fact that he was not paying her the sick leave to which she was entitled, which made it impossible for her to claim benefits.

Taryn Robinson from Pregnant Then Screwed said the charity hears stories such as Pawley's 'time and time again'.

'Employers need to do so much better to ensure their workplaces are fair and safe environments for everyone,' she said.

'I asked for my monies owed and a valid reason for firing me. As he couldn't provide one, I felt I had no other option but to bring my case forward… and fight,' Pawley said.

The chef took her employer to court after being fired in November 2019, and the case was heard in September 2021.

Judge Philip Lancaster found the sacking was discriminatory, because Hannah's illness was caused by pregnancy.

Pawley was awarded £17,000 in total - £12,000 for injury to feelings and more than £5,000 for sick pay and lost earnings.

'The relief to know that it has been officially recognised and noted that I was treated poorly is hugely healing,' she said.

'I hope this is not only a warning to employers but a big plus to any women who feel they have been wronged. If it feels wrong - it probably is.'

Hanley's Restaurant is now closed.

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