HR horror stories – Second of 4
Your pregnant employee’s poor performance
Issues with your pregnant employee’s performance have not been raised formally and she has passed her probationary period. You are about to call her to a meeting to dismiss her for poor performance (as she has no right to claim unfair dismissal) when she informs you she is pregnant. Can you go ahead and dismiss?
To dismiss her now would put you at a high risk of a claim of automatic unfair dismissal (for which an employee does not need two years’ service) and/or discrimination. Or would it? See what happened in a recent case below.
One of the biggest problems we see is that employees can bring a claim even if the claim is not a good one. Although in this position she would have the ability to bring a claim, it could be that you have a clear evidential trail that the dismissal for performances is unrelated to her pregnancy. This would be more of an uphill struggle if issues relating to her performance have not been raised formally. Without good evidence for poor performance, an inference could be drawn that the real reason for dismissal is your employee’s pregnancy.
If, however, your employee’s performance had been monitored throughout and issues brought to her attention from the outset with thorough documentation, you would have a far stronger basis on which to build a case for dismissal for poor performance that is unrelated to her pregnancy.
In a recent case, we were able to demonstrate with great clarity in email exchanges and file notes that the decision to dismiss a pregnant employee had been reached prior to the announcement of her pregnancy. This did not prevent her from bringing a claim, but her claim failed.
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Thank you so much for all your help and advice. It was nice dealing with someone who honestly caredKylea Jarrold
I have been using Hina’s Penguin Guide and it’s fantasticDanish Ahmad – (Chamber of Commerce)
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I was particularly impressed by you and your team as all of you communicated your respective knowledgeable and experience in a pragmatic way, which, in my personal experience is not always the case. I have attended other legal firm’s seminars and although the content is usually good it is frequently presented using too much ‘lawyer speak’, often assuming the very worst outcome including extreme escalated litigation, which for the majority of cases is not the most likely outcome. I realise that we as HR practitioners, need to be aware of worst case scenarios but sometimes there is too much emphasis on this. “Suzanne Prince, HR Contractor
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Hina and Remziye recently delivered employment law sessions to our London management team which focused on a range of key employment law issues. Feedback was that the sessions were excellent, informative and well presented. They discussed not only actual case law but also advised on company-relevant scenarios, based on their knowledge of our internal policies and procedures.
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Very useful, thank you – more time neededHR Administrator attendee
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Employment Law Seminar 6th March 2014 – The two lady speakers were great. It was really helpful having questions from the floor and they both provided really helpful case studies of the recent cases they worked on. Overall to cram all that information in just two hours, it was a good event and would like to attend more!Chetna Kerai, NatCen Social Research
A special thanks to Hina Belitz for her interesting talk on what we must take into account before employing someone at any level. She carried us through what could be a “heavy weight” topic with such ease that we could have listened to her for hours!Marilena Narbona – The Athena Network
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Employment Law Seminar 18th June 2014 – A very interesting session with good speakers covering a range of topicsJulie Fisher-Jones, Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
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The Penguin Guide to Employment Rights will help management and workers alike to navigate this increasingly complex and important area of lawCherie Booth
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