DLA Piper cleared of sexual discrimination against former pregnant partner

DLA Piper has been cleared of sexual discrimination against a partner.

An employment tribunal dismissed all the allegations by Sarah Sweeney, former real estate partner at the law firm, who was made redundant from her £100,000-a-year post when she was three months pregnant, the Liverpool Echo has reported.

During the six-day tribunal, Sweeney, 36, claimed one of her bosses slapped her bottom, and alleged another senior manager said women who have children should not work.

Judge Reed said: “In one sense, it is not surprising Ms Sweeney felt she was mistreated by DLA. As of 3 November 2008, the position was that, without warning and some two months after telling [Liverpool real estate head Mark] Beardwood she was pregnant, she was ejected from the partnership.

“It is understandable she considered at that stage the two were linked.

“But the documents we were shown made it abundantly clear ‘the writing was on the wall’ for her at a much earlier stage.

“In any event, we concluded she was not discriminated against and accordingly her claim fails.”

A DLA spokesman said: “The tribunal unanimously dismissed all of Sarah’s claims. We were disappointed the claim was brought in the first place and continued with, despite strong and clear documentary evidence supporting our defence.

“We maintained our defence throughout because we believed our decision to ask Sarah to leave was entirely correct, appropriate and, in the circumstances, fair.

“We are satisfied with the judgment and feel that our position has been completely vindicated.”

Sweeney told the newspaper she was “really disappointed” with the decision but was unlikely to appeal it.

Earlier this year, the same law firm denied discriminating against a successful job applicant on the grounds of her ‘perceived’ disability.

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