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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Employee successfully claims charity discriminated against her for being pregnant

This news post is about 3 years old

Evidence clearly pointed to discrimination

A charity has been ordered to pay £10,000 to a pregnant woman after a tribunal said it discriminated against her.

Bosses at the Salvation Army were found to discriminate against the woman either because of pregnancy or because she was about to go on maternity leave.

The claimant named as K Voy started working as the weekend concierge at Swan Lodge, a hostel in Sunderland run by the Christian church and charity, in August 2018.

She left that position in March 2019 before picking up work as a relief worker in July 2019.

She was working up to five shifts a week at the time and covering weekday concierge shifts while a colleague was acting up as an assistant support worker before interviews for that role took place. 

However, Voy learned that the post had been offered to one colleague who turned it down, and a second in advance of the interview process.

Voy told the tribunal that this had left her feeling humiliated. 

The tribunal ruled that Voy was not offered the full-time post either because of her pregnancy or because she was about to go on maternity leave.

Employment Judge O’Dempsey, said: “In both these cases we find that the respondent treated the claimant unfavourably and that this was related to maternity. 

“Although in the oral reasons we distinguished between pregnancy and maternity leave, for reasons stated above, on reflection we consider this distinction to be one without substance in that the true reason for the treatment in this case was pregnancy/maternity.”

Voy was awarded £10,000 and more than £1,800 for loss of earnings. 

O’Dempsey added: “We infer from the evidence, as we must, that as the explanation for the treatment we have found could be an unlawful act under the Equality Act 2010, we must find that the respondent did commit such an act.”

A Salvation Army spokesperson said: “The Salvation Army prides itself on being an equal opportunities employer and we have robust policies in place to ensure recruitment is fair and transparent.

"This is a unique case and while we are disappointed by the outcome we will take this opportunity to reflect and learn from it.”