Supermarket chain Morrisons has been ordered to pay £60,442.25 to a woman from Wetherby, Yorkshire, as an employment tribunal found that the employer had discriminated against her after returning from maternity leave.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Donna Patterson, who was a buyer in Morrisons’ online business, explained that she had previously been offered a new role, but when she revealed that she was pregnant the job disappeared.
After returning from maternity leave, she found that her role at Morrisons had changed due to a restructuring of her department. As a result, she was made to work full-time hours despite being on a part-time contract.
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After being reprimanded for elements of her job not being finished on time, Patterson filed a grievance and went through the business’ internal process, while also going on sick leave for stress. When her concerns were rejected, she resigned.
After leaving her role, Patterson submitted a data subject access request and came across a letter that revealed plans to demote her when she was pregnant. Meeting minutes she received showed her manager had questioned her priorities after the birth of her second child, and that an HR representative said that the restructure of the online team when Patterson was pregnant was unfair. Another file showed that Morrisons expected her to be contactable even on non-working days.
Unable to afford a lawyer, Patterson represented herself during the five-day tribunal in Leeds and cross-examined eight former colleagues. The tribunal judge revealed that the panel had unanimously ruled in her favour.
Patterson said in the BBC interview: “I just felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall, that nobody was listening to me. What I wanted was to demonstrate to Morrisons what had happened, and what had gone wrong, and how I had been failed.”
Morrisons was contacted for comment prior to publication.