Durdans Stables to pay £4,000 in maternity discrimination case

Durdans StablesDurdans Stables has been ordered to pay a former female groom more than £4,000 after an employment tribunal found that she had been discriminated against.

Charlotte Holloway began working at the Epsom, Surrey-based stables in October 2018. Her employer had asked her to change her working days and hours while she was on maternity leave in early 2021, but was unable to due to childcare commitments.

In April that year, she visited the stables with her father to discuss the issue with her employer Stephen Cooper and his partner, who was helping run the business. Cooper’s partner did not dismount from her horse during the conversation, which resulted in everyone else having to stand.

Following this, Holloway resigned and then sued her former employers for unfair dismissal and maternity discrimination.

The employment tribunal found that she had been discriminated against and unfairly sacked, concluding that the stables had also made it difficult for her to return because she had taken four weeks of maternity leave in addition to the initial standard period. She won £4,173.35 in compensation.

Employment judge Anna Corrigan said: “The business did not enter discussions about her return and days of work in a spirit of compromise. There was no proper discussion or explanation at the meeting in April 2021, when Cooper’s partner did not even dismount from her horse, and everyone was left standing. As a result, possible solutions in respect of her working days were not explored.

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“We also take account of the indignity of how she was treated at the meeting with her father. We’ve never come across anything like the situation where Cooper’s partner held the meeting on the horse, forcing everyone to stand. The business did not follow any process. All meetings were at Holloway’s request, and in the meeting which led to her dismissal, Cooper’s partner did not even get down off her horse.”

Durdans Stables has been contacted for comment prior to publication.