Mother dismissed over absenteeism suffered sex discrimination

The employee requested parental leave while her husband was on leave from service in Afghanisation. Photo: Cpl Andrew Morris/MOD/REX
The employee requested parental leave while her husband was on leave. Photo: Cpl Andrew Morris/MOD/REX

An insurance company committed sex discrimination against a mother dismissed over absenteeism linked to her daughter’s ill health, an employment tribunal has ruled. Stephen Simpson rounds up tribunal decisions from the previous fortnight.

GMB helps working mum win compensation in employment tribunal claim
In Van Heeswyk v One Call Insurance Services Ltd, the GMB union represented a woman who was dismissed after she requested time off to spend with her baby daughter and her husband during his leave from service in Afghanistan.

According to the GMB, shortly after Van Heeswyk’s request, she was invited to a disciplinary hearing for alleged “persistent absenteeism” and “unsatisfactory standards or output of work”, despite her exemplary record and no previous warnings.

She was later dismissed without notice for gross misconduct, even though her absenteeism was linked to her daughter’s hospital visits.

The GMB supported her successful employment tribunal claims, including for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The tribunal described the company’s procedure as “cynical” and its treatment of the claimant as “unsympathetic”. The tribunal found that the company was “scraping the barrel” to find reasons to dismiss her.


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