A pregnant care assistant sacked after wanting to opt out of a 48 hour plus working week has won more than £35,000 in compensation.
The case again reinforces how employers must take medical conditions and other factors into consideration when staff request changes to working hours.
Mrs. Peart was unfairly dismissed, the Middlesbrough Employment Tribunal has ruled, after she had told her employer, Care Preference, she wanted to withdraw a previous agreement that opted her out of the 48-hour maximum working week under the Working Time Directive, due to her pregnancy.
The tribunal also found her dismissal was unfavourable treatment because of her pregnancy.
Mrs Peart, along with other care assistants, were often required to work “on call” shifts beyond their usual hours to cover for staff sickness and other resourcing issues. This meant they had to agree to opt out of the 48-hour maximum week.
In March 2018, she was told that as another staff member had resigned and she might need to pick up extra shifts. Mrs Peart said she would be unable to do so because of childcare arrangements, as her partner was in the armed forces and had recently been posted, and asked to be removed from on-call duties because she was unhappy with the number of hours she was being asked to work.
She was subsequently dismissed without notice pay.
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