Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Thomas v Whitbread Group plc ET/3202395/13 the Employment Tribunal held that Mrs Thomas had been discriminated against by her employer Costa Coffee (which is owned by Whitbread Group plc) when the company failed to make reasonable adjustments for her post-natal depression.

Factual background of Thomas v Whitbread Group plc

Mrs Thomas worked as a store manager for Costa Coffee, a coffee shop owned by Whitbread Group plc. Mrs Thomas suffered from the disability of post-natal depression, which she had disclosed in her job application when applying for the position of store manager, and an occupational health therapist recommended when started at the company that she maintain regular contact with her supervisor (Ms Hudson) so that her condition could be monitored.

A number of inspections of Ms Thomas’ store were undertaken after she started employment, and the store’s performance was rated as unsatisfactory. Ms Hudson therefore informed Ms Thomas that she would be  subjected to disciplinary action. Ms Thomas subsequently raised a complaint against Ms Hudson, alleging that she had been bullied, harassed, and subjected to disability discrimination. Ms Hudson immediately suspended Mrs Thomas and undertook the disciplinary proceedings, which resulted in a final written warning for Mrs Thomas. Mrs Thomas’ grievance was not upheld.

After the conclusion of the disciplinary and grievance procedures Mrs Thornley took over supervising Mrs Thomas and continued to intensely monitor her, including often calling her on the telephone (which Mrs Thomas found stressful, due to her post-natal depression). Mrs Thomas then requested parental leave for a week from 2 April 2013, which Mrs Thornley rejected on the basis that there was no fully-trained assistance manager who could have run the Costa store in Mrs Thomas’ absence. Mrs Thomas continued to apply for parental leave but her applications were continually turned down; however, Mrs Thornley subsequently informed Mrs Thomas that she could take annual leave for a week from 2 April 2013 as a gesture of “goodwill”.

Mrs Thomas resigned from her employment and claimed constructive dismissal and disability discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal’s decision

The Employment Tribunal found that Mrs Thomas had been constructively dismissed because of the unfair decision to suspend her from her employment after she submitted her complaint and, further, because of the refusal to allow her to take parental leave. The Tribunal also found that Costa had failed to make reasonable adjustments for Mrs Thomas’ post-natal depression as there was a failure to regularly monitor her condition and her managers continued to contact her by telephone despite knowing this would cause her additional anxiety.

The Tribunal awarded Mrs Thomas substantial compensation, including £15,000 as compensation for injury to feelings.

Our lawyers’ comment on the case

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “This case shows that employers must be careful when dealing with suspensions, and particularly so if an employee has previously made a complaint of discrimination. Failing to deal with disciplinary action in a fair and impartial way could lead to an Employment Tribunal claim against the business.”

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

4.67 Average

66 Reviews

Anonymous

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

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Prompt, professional and excellent service.

Posted 1 week ago

Dominic C

Excellent service, prompt and helpful

Posted 1 week 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 weeks ago

Victor L

Very professional. Provided excellent advice on my Settlement agreement.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Professional from start to finish.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Oliver W

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

Posted 2 weeks ago

Melanie H

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

Posted 4 weeks 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 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good advice

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Overall happy with the service provided by Chris and Rana.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris and Rana provide a great service, very informed, diligent and care about your result, would recommend Redmans

Posted 4 weeks ago

David W

A speedy efficient friendly service, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors for processing Settlement Agreements.

Posted 4 weeks ago

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 1 month ago

Federico S

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

Posted 1 month ago

Tom G

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

Posted 1 month 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 month 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 month ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 1 month 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 1 month ago

Lisa B

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

Posted 1 month ago