My story : Danniella
I was working for an estate agents and had just been promoted when I found out I was pregnant. When I told my manager, the company’s director, he said he was "in shock" – no congratulations. Two days later one of my friends overheard him offering my job to another colleague.
I then gave him a letter saying I was pregnant and would be taking maternity leave. He told me my position was redundant and I didn't need to work my notice. I was deeply shocked and upset. I collected my things and left the office straight away. I didn't believe it was a genuine redundancy. My manager had recently told us the business was doing well, and I knew we were busy. I thought he was just using redundancy as an excuse to sack me because I was pregnant.
Needing to find another job
I found it really difficult to find another job, particularly because it was coming up to Christmas. I was so worried about having no job at a time when I was going to be a single mum. I managed to get a bit of temp work but once I had a bump I couldn't get anything. I had to go on benefits for the first time which really upset me, because I had been working since I was 18. Luckily my mum and friends were very supportive and that helped me get through.
Going through an employment tribunal
After taking advice from a solicitor, I decided to bring a pregnancy discrimination claim against my old boss. I had nothing to lose because I had already lost my job. Unfortunately, it went all the way to tribunal. I had to go and give evidence about what had happened, and listen to my manager giving evidence about me. My friend and former colleague, who had also left the company, came and gave evidence for me in the tribunal. It was great to have her there supporting me.
The judge found that my manager had discriminated against me because I was pregnant. The tribunal thought the redundancy was a sham. I was so pleased to have that validation from the tribunal. The judge said I should get £21,925.20 for the loss of my job and the distress it caused. But my manager didn't pay so I had to go through the county court and high court to try and get payment. So far I still haven't been paid my compensation.
Determination and support
Going to tribunal was a long and draining process. I stuck it out although it was difficult and highly stressful, especially being a new mum. I was thankful to have the support of all my friends and family especially my good friend who was a former employee, who stood up for me and helped with the evidence during the trial. I knew that I was not in the wrong and I truly believed that I was going to win this case despite all the hurdles that were in my way. I had a great and knowledgeable legal team and I know that all their hard work and experience was a massive credit in winning my case, they didn’t give up so I never did either. I would go to trial again because people and businesses like my former employer should not be allowed to get away with such blatant wrong doing.