Law Firm Receptionist sacked due to “Inconvenient” Pregnancy

An employment tribunal heard that a receptionist at a law firm was told that her pregnancy was “inconvenient”.

Law Firm Receptionist sacked due to Inconvenient Pregnancy f

"She began to have adverse symptoms"

A woman successfully sued her employers at an employment tribunal for pregnancy discrimination, unauthorised deduction from wages and unfair dismissal.

Receptionist Kiran Nasreen was told her pregnancy was “inconvenient” for her boss while she was off work sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a debilitating morning sickness condition that can leave women bedridden and vomiting.

According to the NHS, it can affect up to two per cent of women in the UK.

Mrs Nasreen, who is from Pakistan, began working for London-based immigration solicitors firm Malik Law Chambers in December 2014 as a receptionist.

Dr Akbar Ali Malik was her line manager and the pair had a good professional relationship.

In December 2017, she became pregnant.

The tribunal heard: “It is clear from the medical records that she and her husband had been trying for a baby for some time.

“It is also apparent that, as soon as she had a positive pregnancy test, she sought medical advice.

“She began to have adverse symptoms, including severe sickness, almost immediately at the start of her pregnancy.”

In January 2018, Mrs Nasreen told Dr Malik about her pregnancy and that she may need time off due to her sickness.

She went off work on January 20 and sent texts to Dr Malik, saying she was very unwell and apologised for being unable to come in.

But the panel heard that he ignored her texts and calls.

Mrs Nasreen’s husband went into the office to give Dr Malik copies of sick notes and medical evidence after she was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum while seven weeks pregnant.

The tribunal heard that Dr Malik was “hostile” and refused to take her sick notes.

Despite her husband insisting that it was a pregnancy-related illness, Dr Malik sacked her, saying she “was no longer needed”.

Mrs Nasreen sent another sick note and hospital letter, hoping Dr Malik would reconsider his decision to sack her.

But she received her December payment along with her Christmas bonus and nothing further, despite having worked until January 20.

The panel, headed by Employment Judge David Massarella, concluded that problems only arose when she became pregnant, with Malik Law Chambers taking “none of the usual steps in relation to a pregnant employee”.

Judge Massarella said: “We infer from all the evidence that [Dr Malik’s] attitude to her changed when he realised she was having a difficult pregnancy, which was giving rise to a protracted period of sickness absence and (inevitably) a period of maternity leave.

“This was inconvenient to the firm and Dr Malik decided to dispense with her services in a summary fashion.”

“The problems only arose after she became pregnant. Dr Malik’s attitude to her and her husband became hostile and uncooperative.”

Two months after Mrs Nasreen was dismissed, Malik Law Chambers was shut down by Solicitors Regulation Authority.

A remedy hearing will determine how much compensation Mrs Nasreen is paid.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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