A GP practice manager has won more than £300,000 in a discrimination claim against her doctor bosses after they sacked her for falling pregnant and referred to her as ‘mother hen’.
Naomi Hefford, Distraught Naomi Hefford discovered that her partners had secretly plotted to kill her. They also discussed the ‘excuses’ they could make. It was three days after Naomi Hefford announced she would be having a baby.
An employment tribunal was informed that her GPs had launched a misconduct investigation against her, and she was fired by her employer via email shortly after she delivered her baby.
Mrs Hefford successfully sued the doctors for pregnancy discrimination and was awarded £294,000 in compensation earlier this year.
She has now won an extra £20,000 after arguing to the panel that she was entitled to a greater payout to take into account a higher weekly pay and the bonus payment that she would have received had she not been fired.
After an interview with Dr Michael Jack and Dr Ajith Sorouji as well as Dr Jamil Srouji and Dr Olanike Aderonmu, a hearing was held in East London. The practice manager started work at Queensway Surgery in Southend in November 2017.
Naomi Hefford sued employers over discrimination in pregnancy and was awarded the case.
Mrs Hefford claimed that during her application, she was asked if she had ever been pregnant or if she planned to. The tribunal determined that Dr Jack had childbearing intentions despite his denial.
They were informed a year later that she was pregnant, and she had been considered high risk.
After Dr Sivaprasad’s, Dr Azeem’s and Dr Aderonmu declared that she needed to “focus on sacking” her manager and call her a mother hen three days later, the manager of the practice was in tears.
According to the tribunal judgments, “Her recollection was these words: “We need now. It is important to concentrate on her removal and the subsequent stabilization of the ship, as that will take up a lot time.
She also stated that she was hearing a voice from a woman saying, “If this is what we will do, then what excuse?”‘.
‘It was that point (she) says she became very upset and ran away because she was scared that the people in the room were going to hear her.
Mrs Hefford was unaware that Queensway Surgery partners were secretly planning to cut her off.
“She said she had heard Dr Aderonmu’s comment and also the words “mother hen”, which was the reason she left.
Mrs Hefford, who was known for recording meetings on her cell phone so that she could write accurate minutes, realized later that the tape had been recorded accidentally.
The hearing heard that the GPs had already decided to sack her by January 2019, and opened an investigation into her conduct. They claimed she was rude in her ‘abrasive emails’ to staff, had undermined colleagues, and that that feedback had ‘no impact’ on her.
They invited her abruptly to an ‘heavy handed’ meeting, without any notice.
Later, Mrs Hefford complained to HR Advisors of discrimination during pregnancy. They ruled against her and she was fired for gross misconduct while in hospital.
Tribunal judges determined that misconduct accusations were exaggerated. The real reason that she had been fired was that she was still pregnant.
Judgement continued that her primary reason for dismissal was her pregnancies. Our investigation revealed that concerns regarding her conduct up to the announcement of her pregnancy were insignificant.
“There was a subsequent meeting in which she discussed the possibility of her dismissal. Her pregnancy was the reason for her subsequent dismissal.
“This was the spark that set off the series of events.”
Mrs Hefford was successful in her lawsuits against doctors for unfair dismissal and pregnancy discrimination.
The tribunal originally awarded her £294,372.72 in compensation but this has now been increased to £313,672.36.