Pregnant worker unable to reach the front for ice cream awarded nearly £40,000

In this case, the claimant had worked at a Gelato Café since September 2018.  The owner agreed to reduce her working hours and removed the requirement to work late or to work two shifts consecutively while she was pregnant. The tribunal heard that she found it increasingly difficult to carry out some of the tasks required in the store and by her sixth month of pregnancy “could not reach the front scoops” or “reach cakes to serve to customers”. The tribunal heard that although her job involved pregnancy-related risks such as lifting boxes and bending over to reach for ice cream no pregnancy risk assessment had been undertaken.

When the Claimant was six months pregnant, a colleague saw her struggling in work and told her that if he had a pregnant wife he would not let her work. This caused the claimant to complain about his comment. The store owner responded by telling her that if she was unable to do the work required of her, she would need to look for another job.

The owner also demoted the claimant to a ‘regular team member’ role from her manager position during her pregnancy, stating that it was because the business was ‘quiet’ and that he could no longer pay additional staff for tasks she was unable to fulfil. The claimant submitted a grievance, saying there had been a change of attitude from the start of her pregnancy, and that she had been discriminated against. The employer’s immediate response to this was to remove the employee from the WhatsApp group of employees. Then later, after the pandemic forced the store to operate solely as a fast food and delivery destination, the claimant was made redundant whilst she was on maternity leave.

The employment tribunal ruled that the claimant was mistreated due to her pregnancy which led to her demotion, dismissal and hurtful comments from colleagues. She has now received compensation of £38,677.27.

121 HR Solutions can assist employers with pregnancy risk assessments and advice to support employees during their pregnancy. This can be a very contentious area for employers so for advice, please contact us on

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