Case in Focus – QBE Management Services

Ms S Jallow v QBE Management Services (UK) Ltd

An employee who rushed back to work after her boss said that she had “taken too many antenatal appointments” has been awarded £4,000 by a London employment tribunal.

What happened?

Ms Jallow began working for QBE Management Services as an IT Financial Analyst in January 2015.  She had her first child in 2017 and returned from maternity leave in January 2018, therefore she received satisfactory performance ratings that year.  In October 2018 she had a miscarriage which her employer knew about and began suffering with depression, stress and anxiety which she was prescribed anti-depressants for, although she did not report this to her employer.  A few months later, in March 2019, she notified her manager that she was pregnant again and had an antenatal appointment on the 21st of March.

The incident in question

On the morning of her antenatal appointment, the hospital was running about an hour late and Ms Jallow phoned her manager to advise him of the delay.  Apparently, during that phone call, Ms Jallow’s manager said that she had taken too many sick days and antenatal appointments and this was affecting her output, as well as letting her team down. Because of his comments, Ms Jallow rushed back to work and missed her antenatal appointment.

Ms Jallow subsequently brought a tribunal claim for pregnancy-related discrimination in which she also alleged that her manager had made similar comments about her antenatal appointment attendance record in a meeting about her pregnancy in March 2019.

The award

In his evidence to the tribunal, her manager stated that he could not recall making any comments about her antenatal appointments.  The tribunal preferred the evidence from the claimant and awarded in her favour.  She was awarded £4,000 for injury to feelings.

Takeaway points

  • From day one of employment a woman has a right to “reasonable” paid time off for antenatal care appointments advised by a registered medical professional.
  • Employees can be asked to schedule appointments outside of normal working hours, if they work part-time, for example.
  • If a pregnant employee works a night-shift, you need to give consideration to this and being able to get sufficient rest before an appointment.

You are able to request proof of the appointments with the exception of the first appointment the employee attends.

Nicholsons offer a comprehensive outsourced HR service, so if you want to discuss your business needs, get in touch.

Posted in Blog, HR.