Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Ms Jenna Storie v Clyde Property Ltd S/4100303/17, the Employment Tribunal held (by a majority with the Employment Judge dissenting) that a female employee was entitled to compensation after her employer automatically unfairly dismissed her by failing to offer her a more senior role in the same department she was being made redundant from whilst on maternity leave.

The facts in Ms Jenna Strie v Clyde Property Ltd

Clyde Property Limited (the “Respondent”) was an estate agency business.  Ms Strie (the “Claimant”), was a Financial Controller at the Respondent.  The accounts department was led by the Finance Director, who was the Claimant’s sister and included an accountant who sat below the Claimant in the management structure.

The Claimant commenced maternity leave on 14 June 2016 and was due to return on 14 June 2017.  Mr Thomson, the Managing Director of the Respondent, instructed an external firm to advise on the structure and value for money of the accounting function and they produced a report in July 2016 which stated that there were efficiencies that could be made that might mean there would be a reduction in the number of people required in the accounts department.

The new structure proposed by the consultant that carried out the review deleted the posts of the three accountants and replaced them with one Senior Financial Controller post.  The post attracted a higher salary than the Claimant’s and the accountants, but below that of the Finance Director.

On 1 September, Mr Thomson wrote to the three accountants in the department advising them that their roles were at risk of possible redundancy.  Mr Thomson did not consider the post of Senior Financial Controller to be a suitable alternative vacancy so did not offer it outright to the Claimant.

Both the Claimant and Mr Dunwoodie, the accountant, applied for the post.  Mr Thomson scored selection criteria in respect of both of them with the Claimant scoring 65 points and Mr Dunwoodie scoring 69 points. Mr Dunwoodie was offered the job and the Claimant appealed the decision to make her redundant.  In her appeal she argued that: (a) there was no need to make redundancies; (b) she should have been offered the role of Senior Financial Controller because she was an employee on maternity leave and it was a suitable alternative vacancy and (c) the scoring criteria were unfair and placed her at a disadvantage because she was an employee on maternity leave. The Claimant’s appeal was not upheld and her employment was terminated on 4 October 2016.

The Claimant brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal alleging that she had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity. The Claimant believed she had been dismissed because she had exercised her right to take maternity leave and not for reasons of redundancy as asserted by the Respondent.  The Claimant also argued that if there was a redundancy situation, she had been selected for redundancy because she was on maternity leave.  Finally, she argued that the Respondent failed to offer her the suitable alternative vacancy of Senior Financial Controller in breach of Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 (“MAPLE”) and as a result her dismissal was automatically unfair.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET)

The Employment Tribunal held that there had been a genuine redundancy situation at the Respondents and found that there was no basis for the Claimant’s assertion that she was dismissed because she was on maternity leave.  They also held that there was no evidence, either direct or by way of inference, to support the Claimant’s contention that she was scored less than Mr Dunwoodie in the redundancy process because she was off on maternity leave at the time the exercise was carried out.

Two members of the Tribunal decided that the post of Senior Financial Controller was a suitable alternative vacancy in terms of Regulations 10 of MAPLE, and, accordingly, should have been offered to the Claimant.  As a result, the Claimant’s dismissal was automatically unfair.  Interestingly, the Employment Judge did not agree with the decision of the members and found that the post was not a suitable alternative.  In coming to this decision, he took into account the facts that: (a) the role was at a higher level in terms of status, seniority and salary than the Claimant’s post; (b) it would be the sole accountancy role in the company and; (c) it included responsibility for additional tasks and decision-making which were tasks in which the Claimant had no experience.

The Employment Tribunal awarded the Claimant the sum of £29,461 in compensation, comprised of:

  • Loss of earnings: £22,203
  • Injury to feelings: £6,500
  • Loss of statutory rights: £400
  • Loss of pension contributions: £358

Our solicitors’ views on the case of in Ms J Storie v Clyde Property Ltd

Sacha Barrett, a Senior Associate in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “The decision in this case was interesting in that the Employment Judge disagreed with the two members who decided that a role which attracted a higher salary, more status and included responsibilities never carried out by an employee before, could constitute suitable alternative employment.  In particular, it highlights the need for employers to consider very carefully alternative positions in their company before dismissing an employee that is on maternity leave in a redundancy situation.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Ms J Storie v Clyde Property Ltd: S/4100303/17 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

4.78 Average

143 Reviews

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Extremely efficient. Mel made a difficult situation bearable and gave good clear guidance thoughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Thanks Chris and Sacha I was reassured throughout the process and a happy outcome

Posted 2 weeks ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard O

Chris at Redmans is my go-to legal expert when it comes to employee-related matters. His depth of knowledge, experience and considered approach to problems and their solutions is highly valuable. I cannot recommend Redmans highly enough.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 1 month ago

Steven C

Redmans handled my settlement with my employer quickly, decisively and to a standard that I was very happy with. I would in similar circumstances contract them again

Posted 1 month ago

Deepthi K

Transparent. Clear communication. Prompt reply’s. Saves lot of time. Very satisfied.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris and Sacha did a fantastic job and negotiated a significant better settlement agreement

Posted 1 month ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 1 month ago

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 2 months ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

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 10 months 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 11 months ago