A Pregnant Aldershot woman who was sacked from her office job with a Farnham interior design company has won a case for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination.

An employment tribunal ordered Connaught Mason of Castle Street to pay £5000 to Kerry Stead,24, of Anglesey Road, Aldershot, for injured feelings as well as a sum to be agreed for loss of earnings.

Miss Stead joined the firm in May last year as an administrative assistant, but was diagnosed as pregnant on June 12. She was dismissed on July 25.

Miss Stead, who was represented by Upper Hale employment lawspecialist Nicholas Frimond, was said to have had an above average number of days absence during her short period of employment and to have also had an agreed holiday. She was absent on July 19 because of pains and went to hospital for a scan. She was also absent on July 22-24 and was dismissed the following day. The tribunal found that these absences were connected with her pregnancy.

Its report criticised the fact that no tape recording had been made of the meeting at which she was dismissed. It said many hours, weeks and months were wasted at tribunals because companies did not record meetings. The firm's directors had given Miss Stead no warning that the absences were reaching a level at which her probation would be terminated and the final meeting was convened without her being warned that she faced dismissal or her being told what would be the main points in the case against her. "The whole picture we find was one of management closing its mind to the reasons for the absences," the tribunal concluded.

by John Walton