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

4.70 Average

76 Reviews

Margaret

Redmans Solicitors took a lot of the worry away and were very thoughtful and meticulous in their dealings with my case , thank you very mush , great service and a great job

Posted 1 week ago

Mark B

Prompt efficient service. Hourly, and part thereof, billing got a bit stressful at times - as opposed to flat fee - made me think twice about sending an email or making a quick call when I had a query because it would have eaten up minutes from my budget. But happy with the legal service I received overall and would recommend.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill has provided a truly wonderful service and was willing to lend his support and expertise at a time when other solicitors, only wanted to discuss their fees! A clear thinking and down to earth professional, Chris can be trusted to listen carefully to your matter, cut through the fog, and advise you on the best (and most realistic) way forward, saving you time, money and heartache. It will be helpful if you first get your ducks in a row in terms of documents / evidence etc. and then contact Chris, (that’s what we did) as this will help your matter to be dealt with faster. The more organised and together you are the more successful you will be. You'll be fine with Chris, I highly recommend him. Good luck!

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard v

Excellent Service

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Very happy from service received. Highly recommend

Posted 3 weeks ago

Colin W

Very professional and thorough. Sachs who dealt with the bulk of my case was excellent Thank you. .

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I was generally impressed with the fast turn around, efficiency, responsiveness, and consideration of circumstances. I needed a couple of areas of advice quickly and with Redmans help was able to get to a conclusion quickly and with minimum stress. They were friendly and professional throughout - I'd use them again.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

The guidance and assistance I recently received when using Redman's was fantastic. Caroline & Chris were both very informative and understanding walking me through each step. Thank you.

Posted 1 month ago

Nicola W

Fantastic service, very quick and efficient. Thank you

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

As with All solicitors advice without consequence but understood and communicated my legal position

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Prompt, professional and excellent service.

Posted 2 months ago

Dominic C

Excellent service, prompt and helpful

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

I found Redman’s to be very efficient and got me the best deal available in the short time scale that was available.

Posted 2 months ago

Victor L

Very professional. Provided excellent advice on my Settlement agreement.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Professional from start to finish.

Posted 2 months ago

Oliver W

Excellent service provided by Redmans, will certainly consider using again.

Posted 2 months ago

Melanie H

Very professional and extremely personable service. Thank you very much.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

I found Chris to be very approachable and easy to speak with about complex matters. He took action quickly and his updates to me, as his client, were prompt. I would recommend Chris and the team at Redmans without hesitation.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Good advice

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Overall happy with the service provided by Chris and Rana.

Posted 2 months ago