Mother Anastassia Rodin was left unable to feed her newborn baby and struggling to manage her mental health after being dismissed just weeks into maternity leave
Image: Getty Images/Johner RF)
A mum who was fired while on maternity leave has been awarded £40,000 in damages after a court ruled her employer had treated her unfairly because of her pregnancy.
Anastassia Rodin was left unable to feed her newborn, after losing her office job just weeks after giving birth.
Her employer, Dhillons Management Services, based in Northfleet, Kent, told her to go to a Jobcentre for money, after she was dismissed without warning.
Ms Rodin took her case to an employment tribunal in 2017 after losing her job.
The tribunal heard how stress from the dismissal stopped Ms Rodin producing enough milk for her daughter, causing “additional distress” for the new mum.
Getty Images/Johner RF)
The hearing was told she was a £25,000-a-year trainer at Dhillons Management Services, which supplied HR services to chains such as Domino’s and Costa Coffee.
She began maternity leave in June 2017, just before the firm ceased work and its contracts were taken over by DMS1 Limited.
Ms Rodin was told she would receive only two months of maternity pay and to go to a Jobcentre for “future money”.
She was fired without notice in September but was contacted about being taken on by DMS1 after her maternity leave.
Mrs Rodin told the employment tribunal in Croydon, south London: “Gurjeet Dhillon [managing director of Dhillons Management Services] said I could work for the new company but I would lose my maternity pay and my benefits.”
She turned down the offer as she no longer trusted the company.
The tribunal heard Ms Rodin suffered from depression and wasn’t able to produce enough milk to feed her baby due to the stress caused.
She sued both firms for unfair dismissal plus pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
Rajbinder Sandhu, director of DMS1, said Ms Rodin was “sold a dream” by her lawyer and had gone to therapy for “a big payday” but the panel ruled she was fired as she was on maternity leave and awarded her £41,191.
Some £12,500 was given for injury to feelings caused by Ms Sandhu’s comments.
The panel said: “Mrs Rodin had no job during her maternity leave and this had a detrimental and adverse impact upon her health and well-being and this adversely impacted her ability to feed her child, which caused additional distress.
“That distress was worsened by Dhillons Management Services failing to contact Mrs Rodin or to provide her with any means to access the rest of her maternity pay.”
Can a worker be fired while on maternity leave?
The Equality Act 2010 protects workers from maternity discrimination and sets out the guidelines that constitute mistreatment.
It states that treating a woman unfavourably on the grounds of her pregnancy or maternity leave is discrimination.
To demonstrate this, you will need to prove that you were treated differently to a man or differently because you are pregnant or on leave.
Examples of discrimination include being made redundant because of your situation or not being considered for an alternative role during redundancy because you are on leave. It also includes circumstances where your job has been changed – in a less favourable way to you – during your absence.