Woman 'sacked from vape shop because she was pregnant' awarded £17,500 in compensation
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Sintija Gaikniece
A woman who claims she was sacked from her job at a vape shop for being pregnant has been awarded £17,500 in compensation.
Sintija Gaikniece, 25, began work at VPZ in Forfar, Scotland, in January 2022 - but it was a very short-lived period for her in the sales role.
Gaikniece discovered she was pregnant just two weeks into the job, with managers telling her maternity leave would be discussed at a later date.
But she claims the conversations never happened and says she was told she no longer had a job at the end of June 2022 while she was six months pregnant.
Gaikniece was allegedly told that problems with her attitude and customer complaints were the reason for her sacking.
Speaking to the Daily Record, she said: "I was so shocked. I was six months pregnant with a child on the way.
"I don’t think they wanted someone gone for so long on maternity leave and to have to pay me while I was off. So I think they came up with a reason to fire me and they had a job advert ready to replace me."
The mum continued: "At the end of June I had a probationary meeting with my boss, who said he had had complaints about my customer attitude.
"He didn’t tell me what it was, just that I hadn’t passed my probation and that I could leave now if I wanted. That was that. I went home and signed on for Universal Credit."
Following her sacking, Gaikniece lodged an employment tribunal claim, but the stress of taking her old employer to court worsened an existing anxiety condition.
She went into debt difficulties struggling to look after little Thomas, who was born in November while she was unemployed.
Gaikniece made a request for a copy of her probationary handbook, which she says would have proved she never had a complaint made against her. She claims the book was never issued to her.
Employment judge Sally Cowen was presented with proof of a job advert online for Gaikniece's position before she was sacked.
As a result, VPZ was ordered to pay Gaikniece £17,583.06, including £4,000 of lost earnings and £300 of notice pay.
"I think they have just thought I would drop it. They don’t know how to look after their staff and it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders after the ruling," Gaikniece added.
“I just wish they would have accepted that they got it wrong and said sorry. It has given me such bad anxiety because I was worrying about how I was going to raise my child.”
A spokesperson for VPZ told the Daily Record: “VPZ is the UK’s leading vaping retailer employing over 450 people throughout the country. As one of the country’s fastest-growing companies, we have developed an inclusive culture that enables all of our people to develop and thrive.
“We are committed to equal opportunities and have a leading paternity and maternity policy that is providing benefits and flexibility to staff across our growing retail network.
"We respect and will follow the judgement of the tribunal. However, we are appealing the decision and due to ongoing legal proceedings we cannot comment any further on the case.”
Tyla has reached out to VPZ for additional comment.
Topics: UK News