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Pregnancy discrimination in the NHS: nurse wins compensation from trust

Line manager asked nurse to stop waiting for her antenatal appointment and return to work
Nurse wins pregnancy discrimination case again North Pennine Acute Hospitals trust

Nurse recalls workplace animosity as Pennine Acute Hospitals trust vows to learn and improve

An NHS trust has been ordered to pay 8,500 compensation to a nurse who experienced discrimination and fear, rejection and animosity while pregnant.

The nurse, who had a high-risk pregnancy, was involved in a heated exchange with her line manager, when a late-running antenatal appointment made it impossible for her to get back to work to run a clinic.

Her employer has now apologised and said it has reviewed its policies and procedures.

Pregnancy discrimination and harassment

A Manchester employment tribunal upheld the nurses employment rights, pregnancy discrimination and harassment claims against Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, in a

Nurse recalls workplace animosity as Pennine Acute Hospitals trust vows to ‘learn and improve’

Nurse wins pregnancy discrimination case again Pennine Acute Hospitals trust
Picture posed by model

An NHS trust has been ordered to pay £8,500 compensation to a nurse who experienced discrimination and ‘fear, rejection and animosity’ while pregnant.

The nurse, who had a high-risk pregnancy, was involved in a ‘heated exchange’ with her line manager, when a late-running antenatal appointment made it impossible for her to get back to work to run a clinic.

Her employer has now apologised and said it has reviewed its policies and procedures.

Pregnancy discrimination and harassment

A Manchester employment tribunal upheld the nurse’s employment rights, pregnancy discrimination and harassment claims against Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, in a hearing in January.

The nurse, who is on maternity leave, said afterwards: ‘At a time when I should have been celebrating getting pregnant after a long journey to that point, I faced fear, rejection and animosity, which only added to my stress and anxiety.’

The tribunal heard that despite the nurse having given appropriate notice of two antenatal appointments in 2019, the rota was not altered, and no cover arranged.

The nurse had limited time to attend her first appointment at a hospital several miles away and get back to her workplace to run a clinic.

Heated exchange about nurse’s antenatal appointment

The tribunal heard the nurse phoned her line manager to say her appointment would over-run; the manager asked the nurse to reschedule so she could return to cover the clinic. Commenting after the tribunal, the RCN, representing the nurse, said the discussion was ‘heated’.

The nurse was subsequently signed off for four weeks with work-related stress.

‘We have undertaken a full investigation, and have reviewed our policies and procedures so we can learn from this and improve’

Nicky Clarke, chief of people, Northern Care Alliance NHS Group

She raised a workplace grievance that the trust did not uphold, nor did it uphold her appeal against that decision.

The line manager told the tribunal she had not managed a pregnant team member before and was unaware there were policies for pregnancy in place.

Trust ‘did not try to resolve dispute’

Ruling in the nurse’s favour, the tribunal judges stated: ‘R [Pennine Acute NHS Trust] had two opportunities to put this right with the grievance and the appeal but did not try and do so.

‘There was very little dispute of fact, but where there was a dispute we preferred the evidence of the claimant. That said, we did not find anyone telling us anything untrue, it was more about perception.’

Manager training and trust review of employment policies and procedures

Nicky Clarke, chief of people at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, which includes Pennine Hospitals trust said: ‘I apologise on behalf of the trust for the way this employee was treated.

‘We have undertaken a full investigation, and have reviewed our policies and procedures so we can learn from this and improve.’

Ms Clarke said the manager has undertaken formal training and the trust has offered to mediate with the nurse and assist in her return to work.

RCN north west regional director, Estephanie Dunn said the college is working with the trust to ensure it has the processes and training in place to prevent recurrence of such issues.


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