Chef sacked while recovering from losing baby wins £17,000 pay out


Hannah Pawley took three weeks off following the traumatic loss of unborn child but was sacked by bosses at Hanley’s Restaurant in Driffield, Yorkshire – now a tribunal has ruled in her favour

Hannah Pawley
Hannah Pawley has won £17,000 in compensation after she was sacked for taking sick leave while recovering from an ectopic pregnancy

A chef sacked for taking sick leave while recovering from the tragic loss of her baby has won her case for unfair dismissal.

Hannah Pawley was fired from Hanley’s Restaurant, Driffield, Yorkshire, after taking time off to recover.

The restaurant, run by head chef Sean Hanley, refused to pay her the statutory sick leave which she was legally entitled to whilst she was off work following the ectopic pregnancy.

A tribunal ruled in her favour and she has won £17,000 following a two-year legal battle.

The woman was awarded the sum for her sick pay and potential lost earnings.

She had to take three weeks off to deal with the trauma of losing her baby
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Image:

Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

Leeds Employment Tribunal also found that the employer falsified records to hide the fact that she wasn’t being remunerated, which left Hannah unable to claim benefits.

Hannah, who has since had a baby and started a homemade food delivery service, said: “I felt used and betrayed by my employer Sean Hanley.

“I asked for my monies owed and a valid reason for firing me.

“As he couldn’t provide one, I felt I had no other option but to bring my case forward to ACAS [the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] and fight.

“Even at my most broken and vulnerable point, I felt I had to fight for this gross wrongdoing.”


She refused to accept Hanley’s Restaurant’s decision to fire her – and was vindicated two years later
(

Image:

Pregnant Then Screwed / SWNS)

Hannah had been working for Hanley’s Restaurant for five months and as a chef for four years in the lead up to her dismissal.

But in November 2019, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy and had to take sick leave as she was unwell and had to cope with strong medical treatment.

Hannah’s leave was certified as pregnancy-related sickness.

According to the law, she was entitled to take as much leave as necessary without any detriment to her employment.

In addition, her employer had been informed that she had experienced an ectopic pregnancy and needed time to physically recover.

Speaking after the ruling, Hannah said it was a “relief” to finally get justice.

She added: “The relief to know that it has been officially recognised and noted that I was treated poorly is hugely healing.

“I hope this is not only a warning to employers but a big plus to any women who feel they have been wronged. If it feels wrong – it probably is.”

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Taryn Robinson, from charity Pregnant Then Screwed, who advised Hannah following her sacking, said it was time to end penalties incurred by women following motherhood.

She said: “At Pregnant Then Screwed we hear of women being forced out of their jobs following a miscarriage time and time again.

“Sadly, these women rarely use the law to access the justice they deserve as they simply don’t have the emotional energy. Employers need to do so much better to ensure their workplaces are fair and safe environments for everyone.

“There is a national conversation taking place about the importance of progressive reproductive health-related policies

“Cases like Hannah’s show the negative impact that a lack of support and protection can have on women and their careers.”

Hanley’s Restaurant declined the opportunity to comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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