Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd 3323774/2016 the Employment Tribunal held that Mrs Deol had been dismissed by her employer because of her pregnancy

The facts in Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd

Mrs Deol commenced employment with Sonic Laboratories Ltd (“Sonic”) on 10 November 2014 as an administrator.

Mrs Deol alleged that Ismail Nawasra (Director) had told her in January 2015 “I d0n’t like pregnant women in the office. I was planning on terminating Lisa but cannot now that she is pregnant. A pregnant lady in this country is very strong.”

On 6 January 2016 Mrs Deol received confirmation of her pregnancy from her GP. She then alleged that she informed Mr Nawasra on 9 January 2016 of her pregnancy, and he informed her that she would have to submit a MATB1 form, which her GP would give her. Mrs Deol then asserted that Mr Nawasra had approved her absence for pregnancy-related absence and an antenatal appointment on 19-22 January 2016. She stated that her absence had been logged as pregnancy-related by Mr Nawasra on Sonic’s HRonline portal.

On 19 February 2016 Mrs Deol attempted to send a text message to Mr Deol stating: “Good morning Nathan, I may not come today, I was very sick last night. I have emergency appointment with midwife n GP. Sorry for that. Please do call me if need me, I will help you on phone. Many thanks.”

On 4 March 2016 Mrs Deol travelled to India on approved annual leave from 7 to 18 March 2016. She was due to return to the UK on 19 March 2016, and return to work on 21 March 2016, but on 16 March 2016 her brother-in-law died unexpectedly. Mrs Deol asked her husband to inform Mr Nawasra that she wished to stay in India for the funeral, and that she would therefore need an extended period of leave. Mr Deol alleged that he had done so, and that Mr Nawasra had not objected to the request.

Mrs Deol did not return to work on 21 March 2016 and the decision was made on 22 March 2016 to dismiss her summarily for unauthorised absence from work. Mr Little (General Manager) sent Mrs Deol an email on 22 March 2016 to confirm that she was viewed as having resigned from her employment due to her unauthorised absence and on 24 March 2016 to state that she was being treated as having resigned from the business. Mrs Deol texted Mr Nawasra on 26 March 2016 to appeal her dismissal but received no response.

On 8 April 2016 Mrs Seol submitted a written complaint complaining, among other things, that she believed the reason for her dismissal was to avoid paying her SMP and because she was pregnant.

Mrs Seol subsequently submitted Employment Tribunal claims for pregnancy discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal.

Sonic denied in its ET3 that Mrs Deol had informed anyone at the company of her pregnancy until after she had been dismissed.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd

The Employment Tribunal upheld Mrs Deol’s claims for pregnancy discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal.

The Tribunal found that Sonic had had knowledge of Mrs Deol’s pregnancy, preferring Mrs Deol’s evidence that she had informed Mr Nawasra of her pregnancy on 9 January 2016 and that she had been subsequently logged absent from work for pregnancy-related reasons by one of her managers. The Tribunal found Sonic’s evidence on this point to lack credibility, as Sonic’s employees had attempted to argue that Mrs Deol had inputted the pregnancy-related absences into the HR portal herself and the Tribunal found that this was unlikely. This finding regarding credibility had a significant impact on the Tribunal’s findings on liability.

With regards to the claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, the Tribunal found that there were sufficient facts to infer that the reason for Mrs Deol’s dismissal was her pregnancy (including the lack of procedure followed relating to her dismissal, previous comments made regarding pregnant employees, and the fact that it was implausible that she would be dismissed for gross misconduct after a one-day absence from work). The Tribunal also found her dismissal to be automatically unfair, as it found the reason (or principal reason) for her dismissal was the fact that she was pregnant.

Our solicitors’ view on Deol v Sonic Laboratories Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must take care to treat pregnant employees with respect and patience, and to treat any pregnancy-related absence with the due care and attention that it deserves – submitting an employee to a detriment because they are pregnant or because of a pregnancy-related absence can potentially lead to an Employment Tribunal claim being made.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal on liability 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

164 Reviews

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 1 week ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 1 week 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 1 week ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 1 week 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 1 week ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 1 week ago

Peter S

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

Posted 2 weeks 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 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Ahmed S

They are always on hand when you need them and provide support even when its not necessary.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nemen S

Wonderful experience.Chris was very responsive and provided an excellent service. A real professional who I would recommend to anyone

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Their guidance was clear and they provided me with all the information I required. Friendly yet professional

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris @ Redmans assisted me with an employment issue. Firstly, he was very proactive in coming back to my initial enquiry and then helped to clearly lay out the options that I had in relation to my position. He then assisted with the preparation of my case, which led to a very satisfactory outcome. I would highly recommend the quality of service & professionalism offered by Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Great service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris was very effective and decisive in dealing with my matter. I felt guided, and the pressure to make decisions was taken off my shoulders; he knew what needed to be done and I was happy to follow his advice. The result of the legal dispute was a great success for me. He is also kind and personable. The only thing that I would say it could be improved, is the accuracy of cost estimation at the beginning: not many activites, that could not have been forseen had to take place, but costs went up more than double in the end. Overall very good and trustworthy. I would definately recommend and use Redmans services again.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Liz P

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

Posted 1 month 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 month ago