A shop worker sacked by bosses who thought she was using her pregnancy ‘as an excuse to get out of doing her job’ has now won more than £10,500.

Joanna Kusmierek showed her bosses Mohammed Kadir, Rabar Ibrahimi, three notes of sick from the GP. They thought that she was lying back and taking the money while she should have been at work, a tribunal heard.

After being forced to go to hospital more often due to her pregnancy, the 36-year old was surprised to be sent a letter by P45, informing her that her job at the grocery store had ended.

The panel heard that Mrs Kusmierek experienced ‘increasing anxiety’ due to the circumstances and gave birth too early.

Mother-to-be Joanna Kusmierek, 36, (pictured) was sacked by Spalding Market, Lincolnshire, after she fell pregnant and was signed off by a GP because she had been having dizzy spells

Spalding Market in Lincolnshire fired Joanna Kusmierek (pictured), 36-year-old mother-to-be. She was signing off after she became pregnant.

The tribunal found her unfairly fired and discriminated against, as well as finding that the furlough program had been ‘exploited by’ the company.

Mrs Kusmierek (from Lipce, Poland) was employed for the first time in May 2019. She worked at Spalding in Lincs and discovered she was pregnant the next year.

The director of Spalding Market Ltd., Mr Kadir and Mr Ibrahimi were informed by her.

Ms. Kusmierek, who was deemed ineligible for employment by her GP on March 2020 was instructed not to bend over or lift.

Ms Kusmierek stated to the panel that she felt dizzy sometimes and didn’t want to fall down stairs at work, until her doctor told her she was in good health.

In Nottingham, the tribunal heard that Leszek Kusmierek’s bosses didn’t believe her three sickness notes. They signed her off for May until her maternity leave.

Bosses at Spalding Market (pictured) put Mrs Kusmierek on furlough before she was sacked, an employment tribunal heard, despite food shops being exempt from lockdown closures

Spalding Market Bosses (pictured) placed Mrs Kusmierek in furlough, before she was dismissed, an employment tribunal heard. This is despite the fact that Food Shops are not subject to lockdowns

She was ill and she received furlough.

But, the Tribunal noted that the store was a grocery shop so it is not subject to lockdown.

Additionally, the panel stated it was “extremely concerned” that the company had allegedly improperly exploited Furlough Regulations based on its own evidence.

The panel heard that Mrs Kusmierek, who was fired by her employer the next month, received her P45 in June 2020.

Following her dismissal, Mrs Kusmierek filed claims for unfair dismissal automatically due to pregnancy and discrimination based on pregnancy.

Spalding Market Ltd then coughed up £4,000 in maternity pay in what the tribunal said ‘begged the question: why pay her if it in fact had dismissed her’.

Joanna and Leszek Kusmierek

Joanna Kusmierek

The three notes from Leszek Kusmierek that Joanna had brought to him were not believed by the bosses and she was signed off for May. After which, her maternity leave would start.

Peter Britton (Employment Judge) ruled that the amount was paid by the company to “enhance” its standing before the tribunal.

It stated it believed Mrs Kusmierek’s evidence was ‘compelling’ as well as ‘consistent’.

According to the tribunal, it was not an unfair dismissal of the pregnant employee, but also discrimination due to pregnancy. She was thus unfavourably treated for her protected characteristics, which allowed for consideration of a claim for emotional harm.

“She had already been diagnosed with complications during her pregnancy by the time that she was fired.

“The next question is: Was there an aggravation to her condition after the dismissal?

“We do know that she was surprised by her dismissal; that it increased her anxiety about the future of the pregnancy; and that at the same time, that her comfort of having a job after her maternity leave ended she lost that feeling of security that came with knowing that there would be another job.

“This is double the reason that hours are always flexible.

“And she has at times been troubled before us. There is no reason for us to think she’s not genuine in this regard.

Mrs Kusmierek was awarded £10,000 for injury to feelings and £525.40 – four weeks pay – for failure to provide written particulars of employment by Spalding Market Ltd.