Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the Employment Appeal Tribunal case of Really Easy Car Credit Limited v Thompson the EAT held that it was an error of law by the Employment Tribunal to find the Respondent discriminated against the Claimant by failing to consider its decision to dismiss her once it had learned of the fact of her pregnancy.

The factual background

Ms Thompson commenced employment with Really Easy Car Credit Ltd (“RECC”) on 20 June 2016 as a telesales operator; RECC is a small family owned business which sells second hand cars.

On 15 July 2016 Mr Mate, a director of RECC, sent Ms Thompson an email confirming that he was happy with her work and that he thought she was doing a “great job”. She took cigarette breaks and was told that they were too frequent, so she reduced the number of breaks.

Ms Thompson discovered that she was pregnant in the week commencing 25 July 2016. On Saturday 30 July 2016 she began to experiences pains, and these pains continued in to Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday 2 August 2016 she sent a text to Mr Mate confirming that she was suffering from pains and asking to take a days’ holiday as she was attending hospital. Mr Mate replied that this wasn’t a problem and not to worry about work. Mr Crawford, who is one of the owners, took the view, however, that this was the last straw, that she should have gone to hospital earlier, and that she should not have waited until she was due back at work. He wanted to terminate Ms Thompson’s employment there and then but was talked out of it by the other owners.

On 3 August 2016 Ms Thompson turned up for work. There was an incident when Ms Thompson spoke to a customer – she was emotional from her hospital visit and she became upset after Mr Fullerton (whose duties included human resources) spoke to her. Ms Thompson went home after this. That afternoon, the business’ owners/directors had a further conversation about Ms Thompson and decided that she should be dismissed  due to her “emotional volatility”, her poor performance, and her poor conduct. A letter was drafted by Mr Fullerton that day confirming that she would be dismissed, but was not posted right away (as he felt that it should be given by hand to Ms Thompson when she returned to work).

On 4 August 2016 Mr Fullerton called Ms Thompson to say that she would return to work the next day. She informed Mr Fullerton that she was pregnant in this telephone conversation. Mr Fullerton then reported this information to Mr Mate, who told him to speak to their lawyers.

On 5 August 2016 Ms Thompson returned to work. Upon attending work she was approached by Mr Fullerton, who handed her the prepared letter. This letter stated that her employment was being terminated with immediate effect because of her performance (during her probation period). Mr Fullerton confirmed this verbally.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal upheld Ms Thompson’s claims for pregnancy and maternity discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal, holding that by delaying the decision to dismiss her from 3 August 2016 (when the RECC directors didn’t know that she was pregnant) to 5 August 2016 (when they did know she was pregnant) the company had failed to convince the Tribunal that her dismissal was in no way related to her pregnancy.

Our analysis of the decision in the Employment Tribunal case of Thompson v Really Easy Car Credit Ltd can be found here.

RECC appealed the decision of the Employment Tribunal.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) upheld RECC’s appeal, holding that the Tribunal had misapplied the law – it had misapplied the burden of proof and imposed a positive obligation on RECC to take a further decision as to whether to dismiss Ms Thompson once it had learned of her pregnancy (which was not the correct approach by law – it was settled law in Del Monte that in determining the reason for dismissal there was no positive obligation for the employer to revisit its decision to dismiss (which had been made prior to them having knowledge of her pregnancy) once it had learned of her pregnancy. The reason (or principal reason) for her dismissal was not because of her pregnancy but because of her performance, conduct, and “emotional volatility”.

The EAT remitted the matter to a different Employment Tribunal for a decision on what took place after Ms Thompson notified RECC of her pregnancy (on 4 August 2016).

Our solicitors’ view on Really Easy Car Credit Limited v Thompson

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case (again) demonstrates that the critical issue that an Employment Tribunal must examine is the reason for the dismissal – in most cases if a decision to dismiss is made before an employee notifies her employer of her pregnancy then it may be difficult for the employee to show she was dismissed because of her pregnancy.”

The Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment 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 first name (required)

Your last name (required)

Your email (required)

Your telephone number (required)

Brief details of your enquiry

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

204 Reviews

Anonymous

Excellent advice and customer service.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Aneet G

I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Fern M

Very efficient and friendly

Posted 1 month ago

Neville S

A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

Posted 1 month ago

Daniel T

Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

Posted 1 month ago

Paul T

Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

Posted 1 month ago

Marina E

Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

Posted 1 month ago

Rosa B

Fabulous service all round.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

Posted 1 month ago

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 1 month ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 2 months ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Posted 3 months ago

submit

I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 3 months ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 3 months ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 3 months ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 3 months ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 3 months ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 3 months ago