Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Gooding v The Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company Ltd: 3401365/2016 the Employment Tribunal held that Ms Gooding had been subjected to discrimination when her role was made redundant when she went on a period of maternity leave.

The facts in Gooding v The Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company Ltd

Ms Gooding commenced employment with The Flexistowe Dock and Railway Company Ltd (“the Company”) on 25 June 2012 as a full-time Pensions and Payroll Assistant.

On 14 September 2015 Ms Gooding informed the Company that she was pregnant. She commenced maternity leave on or about 7 December 2015 and it was intended that she return to work on 1 October 2016. A temporary worker was recruited to cover her pension duties whilst she was away but this person was only required to work part-time (initially 3 days per week and then 2 days per week); no-one was recruited to undertake her payroll duties.

On 12 July 2016 Ms Wilkes and Ms Gooding had at telephone conversation. In this telephone conversation Ms Gooding was told that she would be able to come into work for a Keeping In Touch (“KIT”) day, but that she would not be able to undertake payroll duties on said date. On 14 July 2016 Ms Gooding wrote to Ms Wilkies to ask why she had been told not to come into work for her KIT day to do the payroll.

Whilst Ms Gooding was on maternity leave it was decided by Mr Seaman ([POSITION]) that Ms Gooding’s role was to be altered to that of only a pensions-focused role.

On 20 July 2016 there was a meeting between Mark Duffield, Mr Ashbee (Human Resources), and Ms Wilkes. In this meeting Ms Gooding was told that when she returned to work she would be offered two days per week in ‘Pensions’, and that there were no resource requirements in Payroll.

On 21 July 2016 Ms Gooding wrote to Mr Ashbee to ask what the position was to be were she to return to work full-time. Mr Ashbee wrote back by email on the same date to state that he was surprised that she was considering returning to work full-time as this had not been put forward as an option at the meeting the day before. Mr Ashbee again wrote to Ms Gooding on 22 July 2016 to state that she could be offered a full-time position but only as Pensions Assistant (5 days per week).

On 2 August 2016 Ms Gooding replied, taking issue with the fact that she had been verbally advised that there was no position available in Payroll but that this had not been stated in the letter.

On 10 August 2016 Ms Gooding again asked if she could return to work full-time, but confirmed that she understood that she may not be able to return to Payroll. She asked for her options to be confirmed so she could make her choices. Ms Wilkes confirmed in reply on the same day that she would address Ms Gooding’s concerns in an email that was scheduled to take place on 17 August 2016.

On 16 August 2016 Ms Gooding submitted her notice of resignation and confirmed that she would not be attending the meeting the next day. In her letter of resignation Ms Gooding confirmed that she believed she was not being allowed to return to her former role, that she felt passionate about her role in Payroll, and that working solely in Pensions would be “mundane and de-skilling”.

Ms Gooding subsequently brought claims for breach of Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations 1999 (“MPL Regulations”), constructive dismissal, and maternity discrimination (section 18(4) Equality Act 2010), among others.

Gooding v The Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company Ltd

The Employment Tribunal held that there was a redundancy situation and that the Company had breached Regulation 10 by failing to consider suitable alternative employment for her at the Company or even consulting with her. The Tribunal therefore also held that there must have been a breach of section 18(4) of the Equality Act 2010 – it had been decided before she went on maternity leave that the Company did not need her position any longer after she went on maternity leave.

The Employment Tribunal also held that Ms Gooding had been constructively dismissed – her duties had been unilaterally altered without any form of re-organisation or redundancy and this amounted to a fundamental breach of contract. Ms Gooding had accepted this breach and resigned.

 

Our solicitors’ views on Gooding v The Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must make sure that, if they wish to make employees who are on maternity leave redundant, they undertake a fair consultation process and they at least consider whether there is any suitable alternative employment vacant that the relevant employee(s) can be slotted into – a failure to take these basic steps will constitute (at the least) a breach of regulation 10 of the Maternity and Paternal Leave Regulations 1999.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal 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 4 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 1 month 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