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Director held personally liable for discriminatory dismissal

Posted: 9th August 2011   In: Business Employment, Individual Employment

A company director has been held personally liable for the discriminatory dismissal of a pregnant employee.

The director owned and ran an estate agency. He was the sole shareholder.

One of his employees gave him a letter confirming that she was pregnant. Within minutes of reading the letter, he told her that she was being made redundant.

This came as a complete shock to the employee who had not been previously told that there was a threat of redundancy. On the contrary, her prospects had looked good because she had recently been promoted and praised for her work.

She brought a claim of pregnancy discrimination. However, the agency was then sold to another company, which was owned by the same director who dismissed her.

He argued that only a business acting as an employer could dismiss an employee. He therefore, as an individual, could not be held responsible.

The Central London Employment Tribunal disagreed. In its judgement it said that “it is entirely clear that an individual may be liable for discrimination by dismissal”.

The employee was awarded £22,000 in compensation.

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