Pregnant Mum Wins £9,000 After Being Refused A Pay Rise Because She Was Going On Maternity Leave
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash
A pregnant woman has won £9,000 after her company refused to give her a pay rise because she was due to take maternity leave.
HR adviser Laura Musguin was left feeling 'angry and upset' when she was denied a 'low' £2,000 salary increase, and decided to sue her company.
Ms Musgin had just returned from maternity leave with her first child, when she was told a pay rise was 'not feasible' as she was going on leave again with her second child in four months.
After suing the construction firm she worked for, an employment tribunal ruled their refusal to consider a salary increase was an 'act of overt discrimination' and 'tainted' her pregnancy.
The East London tribunal was told Ms Musguin had been with the Romford-based firm since July 2017 and went on maternity leave with her first child from June 2019 to August 2020.
While on leave, she was covered by a junior HR coordinator who was offered a salary of £27,000.
When Ms Musguin returned to work, she was "unhappy that there was only a £3,000 difference between her salary as an HR Assistant compared to the more junior HR Coordinator role," a tribunal report said.
"She believed it to be deeply unfair and to undervalue her work and her experience."
Pregnant for a second time, Ms Musguin decided to go to her HR manager Hardeep Rayat to request a pay rise, but company directors later rejected the request.
The report from the East London tribunal read: "Ms Musguin's evidence is that Mr Rayat went into the meeting and that when he met her afterwards he told her that he had made the request for a pay rise but that this had been refused by Mr Fisher because she was due to commence a period of maternity leave at Christmas."
In messages to a friend at the time, she said: "I am so upset and angry, it is not even about the pay increase, it is the fact that I am worth so little... that they think six pence is enough difference”.
She continued: "I am not sure I can go in tomorrow. I am so angry and upset, and even if Hardeep gets Tim to change his mind, I really know that he does not think I am worth it.
"I am not worth £2k because I am pregnant and leaving again. What is the point of even trying.”
On Laura's case, Judge Alison Russell said: "The tribunal accepts her evidence that on August 24, 2020, she developed a migraine and had a sleepless night, was distressed, angry and upset because of the conversation she had with Mr Rayat about the refusal of the pay rise and the reason given for it.
"Her evidence was that, as she told Mr Rayat, the damage was done: she was not worthy of a pay rise simply because she was growing a human.
"The refusal of a pay rise is unfavourable treatment. Even if she was not entitled to a pay rise, the refusal to exercise discretion in favour of giving a pay rise because of impending maternity leave is clearly unfavourable.
"This was an act of overt discrimination. The actual upset caused was exacerbated by the fact that she felt undervalued because of her pregnancy.
"Instead of seeing her pregnancy and impending maternity leave as a happy time to be enjoyed, it was tainted with mixed feelings as it was the stated cause of the reason she was initially refused the pay rise."
The tribunal heard that Laura has since left the company.