Tapas restaurant manager, 28, who was sacked after revealing she was pregnant and sent a message from her boss saying ‘no hard feelings’ wins £15,000
- Anna McKnight claimed to have been given fewer shifts after her announcement
- She was working at Fenwick 47 tapas in Glasgow before her termination
- Judge Brian Campbell concluded Ms McKnight was discriminated against
A tapas restaurant manager has won more than £15,000 after she was sacked following her announcement she was pregnant and texted ‘no hard feelings’ by her boss.
Anna McKnight was ‘ostracised’ after telling her boss she was pregnant and claimed to have been deliberately given fewer shifts at the tapas place where she worked after experiencing sickness.
The 28-year-old mother-to-be was then left ‘surprised and upset’ after she found out from HR that her employment had been terminated.
Her boss, Jonny Carruthers later sent her a WhatsApp message saying ‘no hard feelings’.
Now, Ms McKnight has successfully sued the restaurant in Greenock, Scotland, for pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal.
Anna McKnight, 28, won more than £15,000 after she was sacked following her announcement she was pregnant and texted ‘no hard feelings’ by her boss
Ms McKnight, whose son Goldie is now five months old, has won £15,365 after the ‘underhand’ sacking.
Following the case, Ms McKnight hit out at the ‘stigma’ around maternity leave and said it needs to be ‘stamped out’, adding ‘companies can’t and won’t get away with treating women this way’.
The tribunal in Glasgow heard Ms McKnight began working at Fenwick 47 tapas restaurant as assistant manager in December 2021.
She found out she was pregnant with Goldie, her second child, in mid-January 2022 and the general manager at the restaurant, Mr Carruthers, congratulated her.
Mr Carruthers even joked with Ms McKnight that he was going to say he is pregnant to avoid drinking, texting her to say he ‘will kiddon I am preggers tae’.
She was due to go on maternity leave in August 2022.
A tribunal report said: ‘In February 2022 she experienced pain and sickness connected with her pregnancy.
‘She was open with Mr Carruthers about this but was largely able to work her usual number of hours. The symptoms were not constant.
The tribunal in Glasgow heard Ms McKnight began working at Fenwick 47 tapas restaurant as assistant manager in December 2021
‘From the end of March 2022, Mr Carruthers offered Ms McKnight noticeably fewer shifts than before.
‘She was still experiencing occasional sickness at this point.
‘On April 16, 2022, she offered availability for three shifts the following week but was not put on the rota at all. Mr Carruthers said it had been a quiet week.’
When she was only offered one further shift in May 2022, Ms McKnight sought answers from bosses at WBI Ltd, which runs the restaurant, but couldn’t get hold of HR for four days.
When she did, she was told by HR’s Lynsey Penman that ‘she had been ‘P45’d’ in a way which suggested any conversation about maternity rights had been superseded’.
Mr Carruthers sent her a message saying ‘no hard feelings’ and didn’t message her again until September 2022 to congratulate her on the birth of her son.
Employment Judge Brian Campbell concluded Ms McKnight was discriminated against.
Read More: Admin worker, 34, who was fired by her female boss after telling her she was pregnant wins £14,000 payout
Judge Campbell said: ‘There were no other apparent factors in her relationship with Mr Carruthers, which was friendly and supportive until the end, or any issues with her performance or conduct which suggested another reason for her being dismissed in the way that she was.
‘The unexpected decision to dismiss her caused her a degree of stress at a time when she was already experiencing illness and other symptoms connected to her pregnancy.
‘She had financial commitments in relation to her flat and car as well as everyday expenses.
‘She called upon her partner and father to help her pay her bills.’
The Judge added: ‘She felt upset and vulnerable. She felt that the way in which her dismissal was implemented was particularly underhand.
‘There was no evidence of any other reason for her dismissal. She was given no indication that she was being dismissed, much less a reason, until she began contacting her employer to discuss her maternity leave and pay arrangements.’
The claims were won against WBI Ltd, which did not attend the tribunal.
Ms McKnight, whose daughter Meadow is four, is now living in Glasgow and is currently off on maternity leave.
Following the case, she said: ‘I’m just glad it’s over. In all honesty, it was never about the money, it was the principle of it.
‘To treat someone like that under normal circumstances, never mind during a pregnancy, is just disgusting.’
She added: ‘Companies need to realise they can’t and won’t get away with treating women this way.
‘They tried to take advantage of me whilst I was vulnerable but I wasn’t letting anyone get away with treating me so badly.
‘I hope it helps someone in the future; the whole stigma around women having to go off of work due to pregnancy needs to be stamped out and companies need to understand they must support and accommodate women in this position.’
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