Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In Mrs Bosch v FAC Property Consultants Limited(ET/1401369/2018) an employee’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination was upheld, and she was awarded over £40,000 in compensation, after her employer first considered making her redundant than commenced capability proceedings against her after she advised them she was pregnant.

The facts in Bosch v FAC Property Consultants Limited

Mrs Bosch, (the ‘Claimant’) worked for FAC Property Consultants Limited (the ‘Respondent’) an estate agent.  She was taken on by the Respondent originally to increase sales in their Bodmin office, where there had only been two sales during the whole of 2016. 

The Claimant was initially very enthusiastic about her new role and came up with lots of suggestions for improving sales, but due to the fact that the business had been losing money for some time, there was no appetite for additional expenditure given the poor level of sales. A manager at the Respondent’s, Mr Harvey, made it clear to the Claimant that results were required as soon as possible, or the branch would close.  The Claimant was given performance targets in terms of the number of properties she was required to sell per month and told she had three months to turn the office around or it would be shut, and she would have to work in the Par office or face redundancy.

The Claimant was under a lot of pressure to bring sales in but remain motivated.  She tried to make it clear to Mr Harvey that there was a pipeline of about 8 weeks from valuation to payment and that he would have to be realistic about how much time it would take to see the required changes. 

In June 2017 there were two sales agreed, 1 in July and 1 in August, then none in September and October.  The Claimant was not hitting the sales targets Mr Harvey had imposed.

On 2 October 2017 the Claimant e-mailed a Mr Rees at the Respondent to say she was pregnant.  He suggested a meeting the following day.  At that meeting it was suggested to the Claimant that she should step back to a less stressful role to ensure her health was not affected by work-related stress.  The Claimant responded by saying she was not stressed.

Mr Rees then told Mr Harvey about the pregnancy.  At a monthly manager meeting on 5 October 2017 Mr Harvey referred to a tenant as ‘Alice the slag’ when he made reference to the fact that she got pregnant whenever she had money troubles.  He then asked about a colleague called Beth who was on maternity leave and made the point that he only had an obligation to offer her a full time role on her return from maternity leave and that as she would want to come back part time, this was a way of getting rid of her.

The Claimant was asked to meet with Mr Rees and Mr Harvey on 26th October when she returned to work after her honeymoon.  At that meeting she was told that her health had affected her performance during the weeks before she went on honeymoon and she was asked if she wanted to take a pay cut and drop down to a negotiator’s salary.  They said that the figures showed that she had failed in her role as a manager and she would have to move to the Bodmin office from the following week.  She was advised that if things didn’t improve either her of one of her colleagues would be made redundancy in January.  The Claimant again requested a marketing budget and was refused.

During that meeting she was also asked whether her husband was the same religion as her and whether they celebrated Easter and Christmas.

In a follow up email summarising the meeting, it was confirmed that they had proposed to the Claimant that she step down and that her salary would be reduced as a consequence.  The Claimant responded by e-mailing to confirm that it was the second time it has been proposed to her that she take on a more junior role with less pay since announcing her pregnancy.

On 31 October, a Friday, she received an e-mail at 8.24pm advising her to go into the Par office on Monday rather than Bodmin.  There was a short burst of renewed activity in the run up to a monthly manager meeting on 8 November.  In that meeting the Claimant was reduced to tears by Mr Harvey when he told her she had failed and that there were no results. 

On December 2015 the Claimant was invited to a capability meeting.  The letter set out performance concerns, a lack of progress in securing business and generating sales and a reduction in return from the ‘previously successful’ Par Branch.  The letter went on to say her employment could be terminated.  On 18 December the Claimant went off sick and then started maternity leave.  She commenced proceedings in the Employment Tribunal and then resigned from her position at the Respondent’s.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Claimant’s complaint of discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity was upheld.  The ET held that she was threatened with dismissal on the grounds of capability because she announced she was pregnant. They found that there were a number of examples of the Claimant having being treated unfavourably because of her pregnancy and these included (i) being pressed to accept a demotion immediately following the announcement of her pregnancy (ii) being threatened with redundancy (iii) being invited to a capability hearing with a view to dismissal.  Ultimately the ET accepted that the Claimant had done everything she could to turn the Bodmin office around and as such capability proceedings were held to be completely inappropriate in the circumstances. 

The ET also upheld her complaint of harassment on the grounds of religion and belief in respect of the remarks made at the meeting on 27 October and the e-mail sent during the sabbath.  However, her complaint of direct discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief was dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal awarded the Claimant £41,065, comprised of the following:

  • Non-financial losses (injury to feelings etc.): £23,542
  • Financial losses (loss of earnings etc.): £16,192
  • Grossing up for tax: £1,331

Our solicitors’ views on the case of Mrs Bosch v FAC Property Consultants Limited

Sacha Barrett, a Senior Associate in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “In this case the employer’s attitude to the Claimant changed almost immediately upon being advised that she was pregnant.  The closure of one of their offices could have provided for a genuine redundancy situation, but the Respondents tried to get rid of the Claimant prior to her going off on maternity leave and this is what led to the Claimant successfully bringing proceedings against them.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Mrs Bosch v FAC Property Consultants Limited(ET/1401369/2018) 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

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    312 Reviews

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 days ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Melanie M

    Very happy with the detailed advice provided from Redmans. They also helped me to secure a higher settlement than originally offered by my employer and were extremely diligent. I first spoke with Chris at relatively short notice and then Sacha dealt with my case. Would definitely recommend and use again in the future if needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans helped me with a work related issue, which was resolved quickly and professionally. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    James F

    Great people, really friendly and professional helped with everything that I needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anusha S

    My case was handled by Sacha who was very thorough and helped me to achieve a good outcome with my employer. Sacha was very personal, professional and helped me during quite a stressful time, so I am hugely grateful to her and to Redmans. This was my first time engaging with a law firm so I wasn't sure what to expect but I can definitely say that it was a good experience overall and I ended up better off due to having the help of an experienced and proactive solicitor on my side.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Diane P

    So grateful that I contacted Redmans to deal with my Redundancy Agreement. Everything from the initial call to the completion of the matter was professional, efficient and effective. I was listened to, had everything explained simply and kept informed of every step. I received super advice and the costs were very competitive. I would highly recommend them to anyone seeking similar help. First class service - thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Chris L

    It was a very efficient and effective service - Would recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Exceeded my expectations. Very professional and proactive. I highly recommend them.

    Posted 1 month ago