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New mother unfairly dismissed by property firm

image copyrightGoogle
image captionMs Storrie worked at Clyde Property's head office in Clarkston, Glasgow

A woman who was made redundant by a leading property firm while on maternity leave has won her case for unfair dismissal.

Jenna Storrie lost her job as a finance controller with Clyde Property in 2016 after seven years with the company.

She brought her case before a Glasgow employment tribunal and was awarded almost £30,000.

But Clyde Property confirmed it is likely to appeal the decision after the judge was overruled by two lay members.

Ms Storrie's lawyer Lois Madden welcomed the ruling and claimed it highlighted a wider problem.

Ms Madden, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: "Discrimination against pregnant women and those on maternity leave is a huge problem in Scotland and that such a high profile company as Clyde Property thought it could deprive its employees of their legal entitlements is disgraceful and shows how much work still needs to be done.

"Jenna was extremely brave taking on her former employer and this is not just a victory for her but for expectant and new working mothers everywhere."

Employment terminated

Ms Storrie, 31, informed Clyde Property managing director Gary Thomson she was pregnant in January 2016 and started her maternity leave on 14 June.

But on 1 September 2016 Ms Storrie, of Paisley, was informed by letter that she was "at risk" of redundancy following a restructuring process.

The tribunal heard Ms Storrie applied for the newly created post of senior finance controller, which came with a salary of £50,000, but lost out to a male colleague.

She was asked if she wanted to be considered for a £23,000 accounts assistant role but failed to respond to a final demand for clarification from the company.

On 4 October last year she was informed her employment would be terminated by reason of redundancy.

Clyde Property had argued that redundancy was a fair reason under employment law for dismissal but Ms Storrie claimed she lost her job as she was on maternity leave.

The tribunal, which called in February, has now ruled by a majority that Ms Storrie was "automatically unfairly dismissed" as Clyde Property breached the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999.

She was awarded £29,461 compensation.

'Error of law'

In a statement Clyde Property confirmed it is likely to lodge an appeal with the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

The company noted that while the judge found in its favour on all issues she was overruled by two lay members.

The statement said: "Most Employment Tribunals are heard by a judge alone.

"It is remarkable that the judge found in favour of Clyde Property Limited in every aspect and yet the procedural rules are such that in cases where there are two lay wing members and they both find fault on one technical point that there should be an award to the claimant.

"Clyde Property have considered the decision with their legal advisers and they consider that it may be an error of law and perverse, therefore it is likely to be subject of an appeal."

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