Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Mrs N Agarwal v St John Freight System UK Ltd: ET/3200221/2019 an Employment Tribunal held that a pregnant employee had been discriminated against by being told to resign from her job when she told her line manager that she was absent from work due to bleeding.

The facts in Agarwal v St John Freight System UK Ltd

Mrs Agarwal (“the Claimant”) commenced employment at St John Freight System UK Limited (“the Respondent”) on 7 September 2017. At the start of the Claimant’s employment it was agreed that her working hours would be from 9am to 3pm in the office, and then from 4.30pm to 5.30pm from home.

The ‘working from home’ arrangement did not work out well – the Claimant found it difficult to work from her mobile phone when she was at home, and that she needed access to her computer in the office in order to do her work efficiently. This led to customer queries not being responded to promptly. The Respondent was aware of this and was not happy, but did not compel the Claimant to work from the office. It accepted that she was only working effectively during her time at the office (9am-3pm) but that she was still allowed to work from home (4.30pm-5.30pm).

On 24 October 2017 the Claimant suffered a miscarriage.

In January 2018 and February 2018 the Respondent informed the Claimant that the working from home arrangement was not working well, but the Respondent did not require the Claimant to stay in the office until 5.30pm. The Claimant’s position was that if she had been told to do that then she would have objected, as she had childcare responsibilities that she had to undertake.

On 24 October 2018 the Claimant left the office at approx 2.30pm and went straight to the hospital – she was pregnant again and was suffering some bleeding. She rang the office and told her line manager of her pregnancy and the reason why she was absent. Her line manager informed her that she should be in the office and that, if she could not come in, she should resign as the business needed staff who would work full-time. She called her line manager again the next day and the contents of the conversation were the same.

The Claimant submitted fit notes between October 2018 and January 2019. On 27 December 2018 the Claimant sent an email to the Respondent to inform them that she intended to return to work from sick leave on 2 January 2019. The Respondent sent an email on the same date confirming that upon her return to the office she should work from 9am to 5.30pm at the office with a 1-hour lunch break. The Claimant replied to confirm that she could not do these hours and that she could only work until 3pm, as before.

The Claimant subsequently made claims for pregnancy and maternity discrimination under section 18 of the Equality Act 2010 to the Employment Tribunal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal held that the Claimant had been subjected to unfavourable treatment because of her pregnancy or a pregnancy-related absence as a result of the following conduct:

  • The requirement to work increased hours in the office from January 2019; and
  • Being told on 24 October 2018 that she should resign from her job

The Employment Tribunal ordered that a remedy hearing take place at a later date to consider compensation.

Our solicitors’ comments on Agarwal v St John Freight System UK Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must ensure that they treat pregnant employees fairly in the workplace, otherwise they may find themselves facing a claim for discrimination in the Employment Tribunal.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Agarwal v St John Freight System UK Ltd ET/3200221/2019 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

    324 Reviews

    Mark Q

    Five Stars I was most impressed by the attention, courtesy, speed and above all, professionalism in dealing with my Settlement Agreement. I would certainly have no problem in recommending this firm to anyone in need of their services.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Ade A

    I was surprisingly impressed by how Redmans Solicitors handle my case. From the moment I call them to the absolute end of my case, they always look after my best interest.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Malcolm P

    they were there when others were not

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service all the way through from start to finish. Really great support and guidance from the team, they secured the offer that I wanted. I can't recommend Redmans highly enough and will be sure to use their services again should the need arise.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

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

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

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

    Posted 2 months 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 2 months 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 months ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 months ago

    James G

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

    Posted 2 months ago

    Pravina P

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

    Posted 2 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 months 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 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago