Mum awarded £180,000 after boss wouldn’t let her leave early to pick up daughter from nursery

7 September 2021, 11:33 | Updated: 7 September 2021, 11:40

Ms Thompson sued her old Estate Agency company [Stock Images]
Ms Thompson sued her old Estate Agency company [Stock Images]. Picture: Getty Images

Alice Thompson sued her Estate Agent employer for 'pregnancy and maternity discrimination'.

A woman has won more than £180,000 after her boss refused to let her leave work before 6pm to pick her daughter up from nursery.

According to The Sun, Estate Agent Alice Thompson was earning £120,000 a year as a full-time sales manager at a company in London called Manors.

After she had a baby in 2018, she asked her company to reduce her hours to four days a week and finish at 5pm, instead of 6pm, as this is when her childcare finished.

Ms Thompson wanted to reduce her hours to pick up her daughter
Ms Thompson wanted to reduce her hours to pick up her daughter. Picture: Getty Images

But company director Paul Sellar refused her request and said the business couldn’t afford the new arrangement.

Following the disagreement, Ms Thomson - from Weybridge in Surrey - resigned in December 2019 and took Manors to an employment tribunal.

After hearing the evidence, the panel awarded the mum £184,961.32 for loss of earnings, pension contributions, injury to feelings and interest.

The hearing was told Ms Thomson was ‘well thought of’ in the company, but her working relationship with Mr Sellar went downhill after she announced her pregnancy.

At the time, Ms Thompson confirmed the details of her maternity pay and attached a spreadsheet with 11 deals she expected commission on.

Ms Thompson sued her company for pregnancy and maternity discrimination
Ms Thompson sued her company for pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Picture: Getty Images

But Mr Sellar said she would only receive commission on deals registered up to her last day and when she returned to work.

Elsewhere in the case, Ms Thompson accused the company of ‘excluding’ her when staff were taken on a trip to New York while she was pregnant.

The tribunal also heard that she was made to feel ‘like a leaver’ when she went on maternity leave and was told to return her mobile phone and office keys.

After giving birth, Ms Thompson tried to arrange flexible working so she could collect her daughter from nursery.

It was claimed that in the past, two female staff members had gone on maternity leave and returned to part-time hours.

But Mr Sellar denied the request, saying it would have a ‘detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand’ and the ‘inability to reorganise work among existing staff’.

After Ms Thompson resigned, the tribunal heard Ms Thompson has struggled to find another job.

She sued Scancrown Ltd, which is the company behind Manors, for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, harassment, unfair dismissal and indirect sex discrimination.

Employment Judge Sarah Jane Goodman, agreed that she had been discriminated against and said: "Mrs Thompson resented that flexible working appeared not to be considered properly (as in our finding it was not), and felt that this was an injustice because of her sex, which it was.

"Most mothers find they have difficult feelings returning to work after maternity even when it is a return to a familiar job.

"Mrs Thompson's turmoil will have been worse because she had to start from scratch finding a job at all.

"She said that she was bringing the claim so that her daughter did not have the same experience.

"The nursery closing at 6pm aligns with standard office hours, and a requirement to work until 6pm each day did place her at a disadvantage, as she would not be able to get there in time."

However, the judge rejected other claims brought by the estate agent regarding alleged comments by Mr Sellar.