A MUM has won £60,000 from supermarket giants Morrisons after they "gas lighted" her and tried to demote her while she was pregnant.
Donna Patterson, from Wetherby, Yorkshire, won her claim of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination after alleging that her role had been changed while she was on maternity leave.
She said the Bradford-based company "gas lighted" her into working full-time when she returned from leave, despite her being on a part-time contract.
During the case, the tribunal also heard that bosses had planned to demote her while she was pregant.
The revelation reportedly sent the judge "ballistic".
Ms Patterson took action against Morrisons after a deterioration of her mental health under her new working conditions forced her to take another period of leave.
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She represented herself during the "gruelling" five-day tribunal in Leeds after she could not afford legal costs.
The mum-of-two alleged that a role was "taken away" from her when she told superiors that she was pregnant with her second baby.
She was working in an online role when she took maternity leave in August 2020 and apparently received a call from HR shortly after her son's birth.
They informed her that there had been a "restructuring of the online team" but that she would have a job to return to.
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Recalling this, she said: "My baby was around two months old and it was during the pandemic so my head probably was not in the right place to have a discussion like that."
When she returned to work she was eventually moved to a role in grocery buying, but the company were reluctant to let her work part-time or from home.
Bosses apparently decided the full-time role could be done in her part-time hours, leaving her "drowning in work".
She told the tribunal: "I felt absolutely gas lighted. It was driving me mad."
The panel found unanimously in her favour on 21 October.
Describing her reaction to the decision, she said: "I just sat there and tears streamed down my face.
"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’."
She added: "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."
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A Morrisons spokesperson 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."
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