Yorkshire woman wins discrimination case after boss called her ‘emotional and tearful’ | UK news

Describing a pregnant woman as “very emotional and tearful” in the workplace amounted to discrimination, a tribunal has ruled.

The ruling relates to an email sent by the boss of an account manager after she raised concerns about her workload.

Nicola Hinds, 37, resigned after returning to work after the birth of her child because of the way she was treated. She is in line to receive compensation from her employer, Mitie, an outsourcing company, after a judge upheld her claims of pregnancy discrimination and constructive dismissal.

Roger Tynan, an employment judge, said Hinds’s boss, Nav Kalley, had stereotyped her as “an emotional, hormonal pregnant woman and that in the particular circumstances his description of her as emotional and tearful was dismissive and belittling”.

“The inference was that she was not fully in control of her emotions because of the pregnancy and that she was making unreasonable demands as a result,” he said.

In April 2020, Hinds discovered she was pregnant and told her bosses. In October, however, she said she was struggling with her workload after suffering two panic attacks in a week.

The tribunal found bosses handled the complaint “ineptly”. Her male manager did not respond to her at all, instead emailing another colleague that Hinds had “become very emotional and tearful especially” and suggested she should go on unpaid leave.

An interview in June 2021 to discuss Hinds’ needs after returning from maternity leave was described as “inadequate”. She resigned in September 2021.

Hinds’ complaints of constructive dismissal and discrimination in relation to Kalley’s description of her and the handling of her complaint were upheld.

Judge Tynan said: “In our judgment [Mitie]’s cumulative treatment of [Ms Hinds] over the period following her return from maternity leave until September 2021 was of itself sufficiently serious as to be destructive of trust and confidence thereby entitling her to resign from her employment.

“We are satisfied that the failure to undertake a risk assessment, together with Mr Kalley’s inaction in October 2020 were material factors in her decision to resign.”

She will be awarded compensation at a later date.

Speaking afterwards, Hinds, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said: “My decision to go it alone was not just to rectify the unimaginable pain and suffering they had put me through, but also to give hope to all the other new and expectant mothers out there, to show them that you can do it without the hefty legal fees and with the right support.

“After 12 years of hard work and dedication, I left my career a broken woman, stripped of all my confidence.”


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