Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Stewart v British Midland Regional Limited ET/4100944/2016 the Employment Tribunal held that the Claimant had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against when her employer dismissed her for the reason of redundancy whilst she was on maternity leave.

The facts in Stewart v British Midland Regional Limited

Mrs Stewart commenced employment with British Midland Regional Limited (“BMR”) on 21 January 2008. She subsequently transferred across to the position of Operations Analyst.

In or about April 2014 Mrs Stewart became pregnant and it was confirmed in writing that her period of maternity lead would commence on 25 December 2014. Whilst Mrs Stewart was on maternity leave there were some rumours that redundancies were to be made at BMR, and that these redundancies may affect her position. She enquired with HR at BMR and was told that her position was not under threat.

In September 2015 a redundancy process did in fact commence BMR and Mrs Stewart was told that her position would potentially be made redundant. Mrs Stewart was keen to keep abreast of what was happening with the redundancy process but found it difficult to log onto BMR’s intranet from her home or, equally, to open attachments sent to her. She requested from BMR that updates on the redundancy process be sent to her private email address and she was told that this would happen from now on.

On 13 September 2015 BMR’s sister company, Loganair, advertised for a Planning and Scheduling Engineer based in Glasgow. No formal qualifications were listed on the vacancy as being required.

The consultation process commenced later in September 2015 and on 2 October 2015 Mrs Stewart attended an individual consultation meeting. Mrs Stewart mentioned at this meeting that she was not looking to relocate due to family circumstances and, further, that she was having difficulty accessing BMR’s intranet from home.

On 19 October 2015 BMR informed Mrs Stewart that the Aberdeen office and hanger facilities would relocate to East Midlands and Bristol. This rendered Mrs Stewart’s position redundant. She was offered £8,000 to assist in relocating and told that she would be kept abreast of job vacancies in the group (including at Loganair).

On 17 November 2015 Mrs Stewart was emailed to told that she would be made redundant. There was no mention in this letter of any steps being taken by BMR to redeploy Mrs Stewart or find her a suitable alternative vacancy.

On 22 December 2015 BMR internally advertised the vacancy of the new position of Engineering Administrator, a role that Mrs Stewart was qualified for. Mrs Stewart was not made aware of this role as she could not access the company’s intranet from home. This position was subsequently offered to Kerry Fyfe. Mrs Stewart subsequently found out that Ms Fyfe had been offered this role and became upset.

Mrs Stewart’s employment terminated on 6 January 2016. She subsequently emailed BMR’s HR department to complain that she believed that she had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against by not being offered the suitable alternative vacancy of Engineering Administrator. A grievance process ensued and Mrs Stewart was told that she would be offered the position of Engineering Administrator; she was, however, not happy with the job that she had been offered (as she felt it needed to be better than the one she had previously) and she felt the trust and confidence that she had previously had in BMR had been damaged. She was also concerned that Ms Fyfe would lose her job if she took the position offered. She therefore wrote to BMR on 24 March 2016 to inform them that the role offered was not acceptable.

Mrs Stewart subsequently made Employment Tribunal claims for ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal (part X Employment Rights Act 1996) automatic unfair dismissal and pregnancy and maternity discrimination (section 18 Equality Act 2010).

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Stewart v British Midland Regional Limited

The Employment Tribunal upheld Mrs Stewart’s claims for ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal, automatic unfair dismissal, and pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination

The Employment Tribunal held that Mrs Stewart not being informed of various suitable alternative employment (including but not limited to Engineering Administrator) constituted unfavourable treatment, and that she had been afforded such treatment because she was on maternity leave.

The Tribunal found that there had not been a breach of Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental  Leave Regulations 1999 (“MAPLE Regs”) as the salary of the roles offered to her would not have been suitable for her (as they constituted a signficant salary drop).

Unfair dismissal

The Employment Tribunal held that, although there had been a broadly fair redundancy process, the failure to keep Mrs Stewart informed of suitable alternative vacancies (and to offer her such when s suitable alternative position arose) rendered her dismissal unfair.

The Employment Tribunal awarded Mrs Stewart £7,000 as injury to feelings her her discrimination claim, with the parties left to agree the applicable net wage for calculating her claim for loss of earnings.

Our solicitors’ views on Stewart v British Midland Regional Limited

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case demonstrates that broadly fair redundancy procedures can be rendered unfair by minor procedural defects, particularly when the affected employee is on maternity leave.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal 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

4.76 Average

124 Reviews

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 1 month ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

Posted 3 months ago

Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 3 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 3 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 3 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 3 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

Posted 3 months ago

Tim O

Experienced and competent advisors

Posted 3 months ago

Rachel A

Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

Posted 3 months ago

Joe S

I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Good service

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 4 months ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 4 months ago