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Mum wins £60k pay out from Morrisons after they changed her role following maternity leave

Mum wins £60k pay out from Morrisons after they changed her role following maternity leave

The mum represented herself and won £60k.

New mum Donna Patterson has won a £60k pay out from Morrisons after the supermarket chain changed her role and forced her to work full-time hours when she returned from maternity leave.

Donna, 38, has been described as the 'Erin Brockovich of Bradford' after taking Morrisons to court without legal representation and winning.

The ex-buyer spent five days in court cross-examining eight of her former colleagues, using meeting minutes to show how managers had 'questioned' her priorities after she fell pregnant.

After hearing that her employer had planned to demote Donna once they learned she was having a baby, a judge ruled that the new mum should receive £60,442.25 in compensation.

"I just sat there and tears streamed down my face," she recalled after hearing the verdict.

"Just from the sheer relief that it was worth it - worth all of the stress, all of the effort and worth everybody saying ‘why not just walk away and move on.'"

Donna, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, started working in Morrisons back in 2008 before leaving and later returning in 2018 to a buying role for the online sales team. Before she fell pregnant, she had been offered a position as a confectionary buyer.

Donna represented herself in court, despite having no legal training.

But after telling the company that she was pregnant with her second baby, things started to fall apart.

Donna went on maternity leave in August 2020, ahead of the birth of her second child.

Shortly after her baby was born, Donna received a call from HR telling her there had been 'a restructure of the online team.'

After deciding to return to work in August 2021, Donna contacted the company numerous times to ask about her new job was but heard nothing back.

Eventually an email from HR informed her that the only job available to her was now in core grocery.

Donna said Morrisons managers were also reluctant to let her work from home or work half days to pick up her children, despite being contracted only for part-time hours and pay.

"I was showing them why it was not possible, and they just sat there and said ‘No it’s fine, you are good at your job and you just need to prioritise'," she recalled.

"I said, ‘I can either work to the point of breaking to get this work done in part-time hours or do the part time hours and destroy the reputation I’ve built over 15 years.'"

The new mum won a £60k payout from Morrisons.

Donna was left drowning in work, to the point that a doctor had to sign her off for work-related stress.

In March of this year, Donna felt she had no choice but to resign over a 'total breakdown of trust', deciding that she would have to take legal action.

While Donna, who had no legal training, knew that what happened to her was 'morally wrong', she wasn't sure if it had broken the right legal criteria.

She continued: "Fortunately, I had a really great judge and panel and because of the work I had put in it was quite clear that employment law had been broken."

As part of her case, Donna had submitted a data subject access request to her company and came across a letter that showed there were plans to demote her when she was pregnant.

She said: "The judge went ballistic when that came out. To plan to demote a pregnant woman is totally unacceptable."

Another file showed that Morrisons expected her to be contactable even on non-working days.

On Friday (October 21) the panel unanimously ruled in Donna's favour.

A panel agreed that employment law had been broken in Donna's case.

A spokesperson from Morrisons said: "The happiness and wellbeing of our colleagues is a fundamental part of our culture and welcoming mothers back from maternity leave in a thoughtful, consensual and decent way is incredibly important to us.

"However, we don't accept that we acted in an unfair way in this case and believe a number of the facts have been misrepresented and we are considering an appeal."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: News, Parenting, Morrisons