A bank worker was told by her boss to “get used to feeling uncomfortable” when she called in sick because she was pregnant, a court heard.
Alicja Banks was told “You’re not the only one having problems” when she asked for extra bathroom breaks at work, and when she told her bosses she couldn’t come because she was feeling contraction-like pain, she was asked what “exactly” was wrongly said by a manager.
Mrs Banks, 26, who had worked as a customer service advisor (CSA) for Lloyds in Bristol, is now due compensation after the tribunal upheld her pregnancy discrimination and constructive dismissal claims.
She had started working for the high street giant in 2019 and claimed she had been forced to resign after being “condescending” and feeling guilty for calling in sick when she was unable to work due to pregnancy-related illnesses.
In April 2020, Banks, then 23, discovered she was pregnant and soon afterward told her bosses, explaining to manager Amar Chudasama how important it was for her health and safety to take bathroom breaks when she needed them. .
The hearing was told he responded: “You’re not the only one who has problems… you should listen to what I’m going through.”
When Ms Banks was about six months pregnant, she started experiencing pain that felt like contractions, so she called her other line manager, Joanne King, to let her know she couldn’t work. Mrs King asked her: “What exactly seems to be wrong?” she told the hearing.
The next day, Banks emailed Chudasama to tell her that doctors had sent her to the hospital after her “pain got worse.”
The court heard that after she was discharged, Mr Chudasama told her: “If it’s not an infection and there’s nothing wrong with your baby, you should be at work.
“Like Joanne said, you should get used to feeling discomfort because you’re pregnant.”
Ms Banks said her bosses had been “concerned” about her absence and wanted to discuss it with her, but when she said he did not believe her pregnancy-related absence would be taken into account, Mr Chudasama “responded by saying that it is a matter of customers”. demands that he has in mind.”
She began maternity leave in November 2020 and never returned to work. In September 2021 he resigned before taking the bank to court.
Defending her claims of pregnancy discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal, Judge Christa Christensen said Ms Banks’ “last straw” was when she realized her complaint would “never be taken seriously or addressed”.
Judge Christensen said: “The totality of our findings indicates a series of incidents including that [Lloyds] ignores specific pregnancy requests related to health and safety, misinformed the claimant about how her pregnancy absences should be treated, and caused her to fear that there would be negative consequences due to her pregnancy absences.
“We are convinced from the facts found that we can conclude that pregnancy and pregnancy diseases indeed constitute the reason for the treatment.”
A redress hearing will be held later to decide Ms Banks’ compensation.