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 C Kimberley v Calibre Building Services Ltd 2301151/2017 the Employment Tribunal held that the extension of a pregnant employee’s probation period for a second time was discriminatory, as the reason for making that decision was partly based on issues relating to the employee’s pregnancy.

The facts in Ms C Kimberley v Calibre Building Services Ltd

In May/June 2016 Calibre Building Services Ltd (“Calibre”) was looking to recruit a new Contracts Administrator. An agency provided candidates to the company for interview, and a round of interviews took place on 2 June 2016 – the agency was informed by Calibre that the company was looking for ‘longevity’ from the appointed candidate (i.e. that they were looking for at least 12-18 months of continuous service). Ms Kimberley, one of the interviewees, was offered the role on 8 June 2016 and accepted the offer on the same date.

On 15 June 2016 Ms Kimberley became aware that she was pregnant and called the recruitment agency, YourRecruit, to inform her of this fact. She asked whether she would still be allowed to start work at Calibre and was informed that she could do so. Ms Kimberley understood from this conversation that she was not required to tell Calibre about her pregnancy at that time; she started work on 20 June 2016.

In July 2016 Ms Kimberley confided to a number of work colleagues that she was pregnant, but did not tell them that she had known about her pregnancy before accepting the job offer.

On 25 July 2016 Ms Kimberley met with Ms Lowe, her line manager, to inform her of her pregnancy, and that she was 12 weeks’ pregnant. Ms Lowe was extremely surprised and upset by the news, responding that she did not know what effect her pregnancy would have on her continuing employment. Ms Lowe then called YourRecruit to complain about Ms Kimberley’s pregnancy and ask for a discount on the recruitment fee.

The role of Contracts Administrator was a reasonably demanding one, which was split 50/50 between telephone communications and using Calibre’s computer system to complete paperwork. During the course of Ms Kimberley’s employment Ms Lowe became concerned that Ms Kimberley’s performance was not of a high enough standard, believing that she spent too long on the telephone and that a number of emails that she had sent were not of a sufficient standard. In a meeting in September 2016 Ms Lowe therefore extended Ms Kimberley’s probation period by a further 3 months, to 20 December 2016 (in compliance with Ms Kimberley’s contract of employment). Further concerns were raised about Ms Kimberley’s performance post-September 2016.

On 20 December 2016 Ms Kimberley met Ms Lowe for the purposes of considering her probation period. Ms Lowe informed Ms Kimberley that her probation period would be extended for a second time due to ongoing performance concerns. This would have the effect that, once Ms Kimberley returned to work fro maternity leave, she would restart her probation period for the following three months. Ms Lowe also informed Ms Kimberley in this meeting that she thought YourRecruit was a ‘disgrace’ and that she was disappointed in her because she believed that Ms Kimberley had lied to her and no told her the truth about her pregnancy. Ms Lowe was annoyed and angry in this meeting as she felt that Ms Kimberley had misled her, and that the recruitment agency had been involved in this.

Ms Lowe subsequently sent a letter dated 19  December 2016 to YourRecruit complaining of the business’ conduct in relation to the recruitment of Ms Kimberley, with the underlying point being made that Calibre would not have recruited Ms Kimberley if it had know she was pregnant. YourRecruit responded to the letter on 12 January 2017 describing Calibre’s letter as ‘offensive and quite frankly libellous’.

In late December 2017 Ms Kimberley contacted ACAS and began to write a letter of grievance dated 29 December 2017. She completed this letter in January 2017 (after the birth of her son) and sent it at the end of the month, with Calibre having received this letter on 1 February 2017.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal upheld Ms Kimberley’s claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination (section 18 Equality Act 2010) in respect of the following:

  • That, in the meeting on 20 December 2016, Ms Lowe accused Ms Kimberley of: lying by failing to telling Calibre of her pregnancy once she knew she was pregnant; lying about her pregnancy by failing to disclose her pregnancy before accepting the offer of employment; telling team members about her pregnancy before telling Ms Lowe
  • Extending Ms Kimberley’s probation period for a second time on 20 December 2016 – the Tribunal found that there were significant references made by Ms Lowe to the pregnancy issues, and that she placed emphasis on some of these issues in determining whether to extend Ms Kimberley’s probation period for a second time. The Tribunal therefore found that Ms Kimberley’s pregnancy was an “effective cause” of her probationary period being extended for a second time

The Employment Tribunal scheduled a remedy hearing, which was due to be held on 5 April 2018.

Our solicitors’ view on Ms C Kimberley v Calibre Building Services Ltd

Chris Hadrill, partner in the employment department at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers, when making decisions such as whether to dismiss an employee or extend a probation period, should ensure that a person’s pregnancy is not a substantial factor in making that decision (even if there are other competing reasons for making such a decision). A decision which is tainted by discrimination can potentially lead to an expensive and time-consuming Employment Tribunal claim being brought, as in this case”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal in Ms C Kimberley v Calibre Building Services Ltd 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

172 Reviews

Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 5 days ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

Posted 5 days ago

Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

Posted 6 days ago

Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very good service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 months ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 2 months ago

Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

Posted 2 months ago

Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

Posted 2 months ago