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 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

    4.78 Average

    268 Reviews

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors were consistently prompt, efficient and professional from the start of my reaching out to them for support in relation to contentious negotiations of an employment matter that continued for almost two months resulting in a positive settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill was diligent, thorough, empathetic and objective in his advice and guidance, showing deep and broad knowledge of the law and legal processes plus extensive practical experience in handling complex matters, resulting in clear and pragmatic advice in ambiguous circumstances that resulted in a very good outcome. I fully recommend Chris Hadrill and Redmans Solicitors! I have made this review anonymous purely because of the confidentiality obligations in the settlement agreement concluded.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Michelle W

    Redmans solicitors provided legal support and advice for a settlement agreement. Excellent customer service, very professional. The senior associate solicitor kept me updated throughout the process, showed empathy and the agreement was signed-off / completed within the agreed timeline.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mark W

    Redmans Solicitors were extremely professional and helpful! Chris Hadrill handled my case and was an amazing help! His guidance, advice and understanding to my redundancy settlement were always clear, concise and very helpful and I am very grateful to him, and glad I found Redmans to help with my settlement. I highly recommend them!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 1 month ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 month ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Zara M

    Rana at Redmans gave me support and confidence I needed to ensure a wrong, was put right. I couldn’t recommend enough.

    Posted 1 month ago