Sacked pregnant teen is awarded £11k

A TEENAGER was awarded more than £11,000 in compensation after she lost her job when she became pregnant.Leah Offord, 19, was signed off sick from work when she had morning sickness - but when she tried to return to her job as a waitress she was told her job had finished.

Richard Smith

A TEENAGER was awarded more than £11,000 in compensation after she lost her job when she became pregnant.

Leah Offord, 19, was signed off sick from work when she had morning sickness - but when she tried to return to her job as a waitress she was told her job had finished.

Ms Offord, of Turner Lane, Haughley, was awarded £11,047 by an employment tribunal in Cambridge after Judge Pritchard-Witt ruled she was a victim of sex discrimination.

The judge ruled that the Suffolk Diner at Tothill Services on the A14 at Stowmarket had also failed to comply with any of the Dispute Resolution Regulations in the Employment Act 2002.

However, Ms Offord has not received any money and yesterday Trevor Widowfield, of the Suffolk Diner, said an appeal was being lodged against the tribunal's decision.

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Ms Offord stressed that all she had wanted was to continue working as a waitress and she had not taken the action to obtain money.

The award included compensation for lost earnings and emotional distress.

“To be told I did not have a job was such a shock. I was treated really badly and I really do not think pregnant women should be treated like that,” said Ms Offord.

She started work at the Suffolk Diner in May and was on the minimum wage of £5.35 an hour. The former Stowupland High School pupil became pregnant in August and then had morning sickness.

She was given a sick note for 10 days by a doctor and Ms Offord said yesterdayshe was preparing to return to work in October when she was told to find another job because there was not much work available at the Suffolk Diner.

“I was told over the phone, just before the end of the sick note period. I had not had time off before this, I would often go in on my day off and help. Other girls kept their jobs but I was there before them and they were kept on,” said Ms Offord.

Ms Offord took advice from Mid Suffolk Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) and representatives accompanied her to the tribunal. Noone from the Suffolk Diner attended the one-day hearing.

Martin Davies, manager of the CAB branch, said: “This is a salutary reminder for all employers, whatever the size of their company, that the law must be obeyed and that failure to do so can prove very expensive.”

Ms Offord's boyfriend, Richard Webster, said: “She was willing to work and she got a bit down over what happened.

“It is a normal thing to be pregnant and I think women should not be treated like this. This is a good example to employers that they can not expect to get away with it.”

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