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 T Peart v Care Preference Limited (1806064/2018), the Employment Tribunal held that the Claimant has been dismissed for asserting a statutory right and also upheld her complaint that her dismissal was unfavourable treatment because of her pregnancy.

The facts in Ms T Peart v Care Preference Limited

Mrs Peart (the ‘Claimant’) was a personal care assistant for Care Preference Limited (the ‘Respondent’).  She was part of a team that provided round the clock care to SU, a wheelchair user who had lifting equipment in her home.

The Claimant’s contract of employment limited the Claimant’s hours to ‘no more than 48 hours a week averaged over a 17-week period’.  In addition, there was an ‘on call policy’ which required the Claimant to participate in emergency cover arrangements should another team member be unable to fulfil their duties.  Previously, the Respondent had dismissed four employees for failing to comply with their on-call obligations.

In December 2018 SU had a hair appointment outside of her home which meant that she needed lifting.  The Claimant was less than 12 weeks pregnant at the time and told the team leader, Miss Gamble, whose response was that she had enough on her plate without the Claimant’s pregnancy on top.

In March 2019, Ms Stauffer, one of the other teams’ members who cared for SU, questioned the Claimant on how she was going to cope when she was more heavily pregnant.

The Claimant has previously accompanied the SU on holiday and there was a possibility that she would again be required to do so.  The Claimant was advised by Mr James, the owner of the Respondent, that in the absence of medical evidence showing she was unfit, she would be required to travel with the SU again.

Subsequently there was then an issue between the Claimant and Respondent when the Claimant informed the Respondent that she wished to be relieved from her on call duties as she could not fulfil them and was unhappy about the number of hours she was being asked to work (most recently two 48 hour shifts in a week).  She missed an on-call shift over the weekend of the 9 March due to issues with childcare.   She then missed another weekend shift on the advice of her GP and went on the e-mail Mr James, advising him that she was no longer willing to work in excess of 48 hours in any given week.

Subsequently, Mr James wrote to the Clamant on 19 March asking her to attend a meeting to discuss the ‘issues’ including a refusal to attend on call duties. Following that meeting the Claimant was summarily dismissed.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET)

The Employment Tribunal (‘ET’) did not accept that Miss Gambles’ single unfortunate remark was sufficient to amount to a contravention of the Equality Act by ‘detriment’ or unfavourable treatment because of the Claimant’s pregnancy.  The same went for Ms Stauffer’s comments in March.   With regards to Mr James’ instruction that she would have to accompany SU on holiday, dispute being pregnant, in the absence of medical evidence excusing her, the ET found this to be a lawful and reasonable instruction.

Section 101A(A) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (‘ERA 1996’) provides ‘An employee who is dismissed shall be regarded….as unfairly dismissed if the reason (or if more than one, the principle reason)…is that the employee (b) refused (or proposed to refuse) to forgo a right confirmed on him by [the Working Time Regulations].

The Claimant’s complaint that she was unfairly dismissed for asserting a statutory right conferred by the Working Time Regulations 1998 succeeded.  The ET dismissed the Respondent’s assertion that the singular reason for dismissing the Claimant was her failure to confirm her attendance for an on-call weekend shift on the weekend of 9 March.  The invitation to a meeting was not communicated in the calls on the 8 March, but instead followed the Claimant sending an e-mail notifying the Respondent of her sickness absence and putting it in writing that she could no longer work in excess of 48 hour shifts due to her changed circumstances.  The ET held that the principal reason for the Claimant’s dismissal was her proposal that she would no longer work in excess of the Working Time Regulations limit on average working hours.

The ET then went on to consider whether the Claimant’s pregnancy was an effective cause of her dismissal. They held that in all the circumstances of the case the Claimant’s pregnancy and her refusal to work more than 48 hours a week were indivisible and as such the pregnancy was an effective cause of her dismissal.  The Claimant’s complaint that her dismissal was unfavourable treatment because of her pregnancy also succeeded.

Our solicitors’ views on the case of in Ms T Peart v Care Preference Limited

Sacha Barrett, a Senior Associate in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “Industries such as the care industry whose operating, financial and service user model intrinsically rely on employees working in excess of 48 hours per week would be well served to consider having contingency plans in place should an employee  lawfully want to reverse their authorisation to work those hours”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Ms T Peart v Care Preference Limited (1806064/2018) 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

    4.81 Average

    314 Reviews

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 4 days ago

    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 6 days 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 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 1 week ago

    James G

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

    Posted 1 week ago

    Pravina P

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

    Posted 2 weeks 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 3 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 weeks ago

    Sophie R

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

    Posted 1 month 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