Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the case of Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd 3323774/2016 the Employment Tribunal held that Mrs Deol had been dismissed by her employer because of her pregnancy

The facts in Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd

Mrs Deol commenced employment with Sonic Laboratories Ltd (“Sonic”) on 10 November 2014 as an administrator.

Mrs Deol alleged that Ismail Nawasra (Director) had told her in January 2015 “I d0n’t like pregnant women in the office. I was planning on terminating Lisa but cannot now that she is pregnant. A pregnant lady in this country is very strong.”

On 6 January 2016 Mrs Deol received confirmation of her pregnancy from her GP. She then alleged that she informed Mr Nawasra on 9 January 2016 of her pregnancy, and he informed her that she would have to submit a MATB1 form, which her GP would give her. Mrs Deol then asserted that Mr Nawasra had approved her absence for pregnancy-related absence and an antenatal appointment on 19-22 January 2016. She stated that her absence had been logged as pregnancy-related by Mr Nawasra on Sonic’s HRonline portal.

On 19 February 2016 Mrs Deol attempted to send a text message to Mr Deol stating: “Good morning Nathan, I may not come today, I was very sick last night. I have emergency appointment with midwife n GP. Sorry for that. Please do call me if need me, I will help you on phone. Many thanks.”

On 4 March 2016 Mrs Deol travelled to India on approved annual leave from 7 to 18 March 2016. She was due to return to the UK on 19 March 2016, and return to work on 21 March 2016, but on 16 March 2016 her brother-in-law died unexpectedly. Mrs Deol asked her husband to inform Mr Nawasra that she wished to stay in India for the funeral, and that she would therefore need an extended period of leave. Mr Deol alleged that he had done so, and that Mr Nawasra had not objected to the request.

Mrs Deol did not return to work on 21 March 2016 and the decision was made on 22 March 2016 to dismiss her summarily for unauthorised absence from work. Mr Little (General Manager) sent Mrs Deol an email on 22 March 2016 to confirm that she was viewed as having resigned from her employment due to her unauthorised absence and on 24 March 2016 to state that she was being treated as having resigned from the business. Mrs Deol texted Mr Nawasra on 26 March 2016 to appeal her dismissal but received no response.

On 8 April 2016 Mrs Seol submitted a written complaint complaining, among other things, that she believed the reason for her dismissal was to avoid paying her SMP and because she was pregnant.

Mrs Seol subsequently submitted Employment Tribunal claims for pregnancy discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal.

Sonic denied in its ET3 that Mrs Deol had informed anyone at the company of her pregnancy until after she had been dismissed.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd

The Employment Tribunal upheld Mrs Deol’s claims for pregnancy discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal.

The Tribunal found that Sonic had had knowledge of Mrs Deol’s pregnancy, preferring Mrs Deol’s evidence that she had informed Mr Nawasra of her pregnancy on 9 January 2016 and that she had been subsequently logged absent from work for pregnancy-related reasons by one of her managers. The Tribunal found Sonic’s evidence on this point to lack credibility, as Sonic’s employees had attempted to argue that Mrs Deol had inputted the pregnancy-related absences into the HR portal herself and the Tribunal found that this was unlikely. This finding regarding credibility had a significant impact on the Tribunal’s findings on liability.

With regards to the claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, the Tribunal found that there were sufficient facts to infer that the reason for Mrs Deol’s dismissal was her pregnancy (including the lack of procedure followed relating to her dismissal, previous comments made regarding pregnant employees, and the fact that it was implausible that she would be dismissed for gross misconduct after a one-day absence from work). The Tribunal also found her dismissal to be automatically unfair, as it found the reason (or principal reason) for her dismissal was the fact that she was pregnant.

Our solicitors’ view on Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must take care to treat pregnant employees with respect and patience, and to treat any pregnancy-related absence with the due care and attention that it deserves – submitting an employee to a detriment because they are pregnant or because of a pregnancy-related absence can potentially lead to an Employment Tribunal claim being made.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal on liability can be found here.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.62 Average

53 Reviews

Anonymous

Both Rana and Chris were fantastic. From the first phone call I was confident my matter was in good hands. I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Redmans. Thank you again for all of your support and advice.

Posted 3 days ago

Federico S

Great advices and communication. Through Redmana I obtained match more than what I thought. Highly recommended

Posted 5 days ago

Tom G

A good and efficient service with the required legal advice provided for a settlement agreement.

Posted 5 days ago

Francis T

The solicitor I used was Chris Hadrill, who I found extremely professional and I felt that he made me feel at ease, considering the subject matter he was assisting me with.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Chris provided excellent assistance with the negotiation of my settlement agreement. From start to finish, I was consitently updated and advised on the best course of action to take. I would highly recommend Chris and Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

They are busy people but manage well so generally I would recommend them.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very efficient and professional service from my first phone call making an enquiry. Timescales of the matter in hand were met and within the agreed budget. Would highly recommend Redmans

Posted 3 weeks ago

Lisa B

Really very good service, always available to answer questions, provide my with any information I needed to make informed decisions.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Offered good support and advice

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris reviewed and managed my compromise agreement swiftly, accurately, helpfully, and on budget. His input on key non-compete clauses was valuable, his communications were clear and concise, and he was always swift in responding. Highly recommended.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Gurbir C

Excellent legal advice service.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Tim

I found Redmans to be very helpful and efficient in conducting my case which was concluded in a timely and diligent manner

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Redman Solicitors to be very good and worked very well to an extremely tight timescale. I would happily recommend them again especially Rana.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I received excellent, knowledgeable and critically timely support from Chris regarding my settlement agreement, and would wholeheartedly recommend Chris in these matters.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Katelyn

The solicitor communicated well with me and made sure I understood everything. He did everything needed for my settlement agreement and tried to get the wording changed in my favour too.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided excellent services

Posted 4 weeks ago

Sibel U

Excellent service

Posted 4 weeks ago

Peter S

I was very happy with the level of advise I received from Caroline Lewis, and a very professional service fron Chris, The advice given really helped me and I was comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. I would be more than happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Derek S

I very much appreciated the help provided by Redmans in the settlement agreement agreed with my former employer.

Posted 1 month ago

Waseem M

It was the first ime I used Redmans Solicitors and to be honest, thety were amazing. Rana Tandon and Chris Hadrill were out of this world. They made the process as simply and smooth as can be. Thank you so much for all your support over the last week.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Worked very quickly considering right deadlines - and gave great advice

Posted 1 month ago