Tribunal hearing | Lloyds employee told to 'get used to' pregnancy discomfort by male manager

Lloyds employee told to 'get used to' pregnancy discomfort by male manager

A Lloyds employee has won a discrimination case after her manager told her to “get used to feeling discomfort” after she went to hospital thinking she had miscarried, a tribunal heard.

Alicia Banks, a customer service advisor at the bank, was probed and asked: “What exactly seems to be wrong?” when she notified her boss she couldn’t come into work because she was experiencing pain.

She was also told by her boss that she was “not the only one with problems” when she asked for extra toilet breaks during her pregnancy.

She claims this experience forced her to quit after being made to feel guilty and “patronised” for calling in sick and she felt the “significance of her pains were being downplayed”, the tribunal heard.

After Banks was sent to the hospital by her doctor, she emailed her boss to explain what had happened, however he responded with an email attempting to devalue the seriousness of the situation. The manager’s response read: “If it's not an infection and there is nothing wrong with your baby, you should be at work. You should get used to feeling discomfort, because you are pregnant.”

Feeling as though she was being treated unfairly, Banks raised a grievance with her managers, but this was reportedly not taken seriously or handled appropriately.

As a result, she did not return to work after going on maternity leave to have her daughter.

Banks claims she experienced discrimination and constructive dismissal and seems set to receive compensation for how she was treated.

Supporting her claims, Judge Christa Christensen said: 'The totality of our findings indicate a number of incidents which include that [Lloyds] ignores specific pregnancy requests relating to health and safety, misinformed the claimant regarding how her pregnancy absences should be treated, caused her to fear that there will be negative consequences because of her pregnancy absences.”

Employee Engagement Checklist and Calendar

Employee Engagement Checklist and Calendar

Planning your next philanthropic campaign? Boost social impact and employee engagement

Throughout the year, there are special dates that draw attention to important causes – like Mental Health Awareness Week or Pride Month. These dates offer the perfect opportunity to catalyse employee engagement and to demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to its community through volunteering, charitable giving, or fundraising events.

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Supporting employees through pregnancy

A similar story emerged of Storm Botha who was invited to an ‘ambush meeting’ at her employer, White Lake Cheese in Somerset, where she was told to take a lower role at the company after they found out she was pregnant, later resulting in her miscarrying due to stress. The judge on this case ruled unfair dismissal and discrimination.

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Employers have a responsibility to support pregnant employees at every stage of their maternity period. Beyond this, employers should trust their staff when they claim sickness and approach managing with empathy.

Those wanting to bear a child shouldn’t be made to feel like their job security or career progression is at risk. Employers should do everything they can to support these members of staff and build a truly inclusive workplace.

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