Ice Cream Shop To Pay £38,000 For Sacking Pregnant Worker Who Couldn't Bend Over Counter
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A woman has won a discrimination case after she was advised to 'look for another job' when her employer found out she was pregnant.
Abbey Gannapureddy had worked at the popular gelato chain, Ice Stone Gelato, as the assistant manager at a Chester branch since September 2018.
When she became pregnant in 2019, Mrs Gannapureddy was not physically equipped to carry out previous responsibilities of the role that demanded more physically-taxing work. These roles included tasks like reaching for stock and lifting serving tables.
Commenting on the physical stress it put her body through, the woman in question revealed that she felt 'vulnerable' and that she 'should not be lifting heavy tables'.
This resulted in her colleague, Adil Hussain, 'pulling a face' and suggesting that 'maybe she shouldn’t be in work'.
The tribunal outlines that she claimed Hussain spoke to her 'like rubbish' and announced that his own pregnant wife would 'not be allowed to work'.
Defending herself against the workplace comments, Mrs Gannapureddy argued that she was 'pregnant, not disabled'.
Store manager, Faisal Mohammed, then allegedly replied to the pregnant woman: "What am I paying you for?" as a response to her raised concerns.
"If you are unable to do the work that's needed of you then I’m sorry but I can't help you any further. You’ll need to look for another job," he concluded.
Mrs Gannapureddy was demoted from her position as assistant manager due this, an employment tribunal in Manchester found.
And a year after, in 2020, Mrs Gannapureddy was let go from her job in the midst of taking her maternity leave.
When voicing her issues with the decision to dismiss her, Mr Mohammed removed Mrs Gannapureddy from the work group chat on Whatsapp.
Upon taking the issue to court, Judge McDonald issued a statement detailing the discrimination that the pregnant woman underwent.
"Mrs Gannapureddy was treated unfavourably because of her pregnancy by being demoted and being subjected to discriminatory comments from colleagues," they said.
"Adil's comments explicitly related to her pregnancy and we find that they were made because of her pregnancy.
"We find that Adil's remarks were acts of pregnancy discrimination. [Mr Mohammed]'s message to Mrs Gannapureddy, saying that if she was unable to do the work needed of her she would need to look for another job, was also an act of pregnancy discrimination. The reason she was 'unable to do the work needed' was her pregnancy."
Chester Desserts, the company running the Ice Stone Gelato franchise in Chester, was ordered to pay out £38,677.27 in compensation to Mrs Gannapureddy.
£18,000 of that sum compensated Mrs Gannapureddy’s 'injury to feelings'.
Ice Stone Gelato has been approached for comment.
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