Luton Job Centre pays out on sex discrimination case

A Luton Job Centre employee who complained about her employer's behaviour following two miscarriages has been awarded more than £24,000 for sex discrimination.

Ms Ann Ginger, employed as a work coach at the centre, made legal claims for maternity and pregnancy rights and for sex discrimination against the Department Of Work and Pensions which runs the job centre.

The hearing involved three different sessions at Bedford and Huntingdon employment tribunals from July last year to November this year and tribunal judge Ord decided to make a decision at a later date.

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Shortly before Christmas the judge published a decision in favour of Ms Ginger.

The tribunal was told that Ms Ginger who has a son, had two miscarriages while working for the Job Centre and had various periods off work since 2013 for IVF treatment and for reasons relating to subsequent pregnancy and miscarriages.

She complained she was upset when one of her bosses allegedly asked her if she could cope with a second child and whether it was a good idea to have further IVF treatment.

Ms Ginger also complained that he told her that miscarriages were not a bereavement and said that in order to have a miscarriage her pregnancy had to be confirmed.

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The alleged comments were sex discrimination and harassment, said Ms Ginger.

She further accused the respondents of refusing her to have time off work, at one stage, for IVF treatment.

Ms Ginger who had joined the Job Centre in 2009, was announced fit to return to work in January 2015 but later needed more time off when her mother died, the tribunal was told.

The respondents opposed Ms Ginger’s legal claims and said she had been absent from work for 47 days during one period.

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A meeting was held with her in a coffee shop to discuss her situation.

Judge Ord said in a report that the tribunal’s decision was that Ms Ginger had been sexually discriminated against and awarded her a total of £24,391.

The amount included £17,500 for injury to feelings.