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News & EventsNEWS - 26 April 2007 - Law students win £8,000 for unfairly dismissed mother.
A businesswoman told to choose between her job and having a baby won more than £8,000 compensation yesterday after taking legal action with the help of a group of law students. Angela Hildreth, 26, was suspended from her £30,000-a-year job as financial manager of a bar in Newcastle upon Tyne when she told its owners she was pregnant two months after landing the job.
She was awarded £8,040.15 by an employment tribunal, which ruled unanimously that she had been constructively, wrongly and unfairly dismissed by Durham businesswoman Jill Maher and her son Brian, who founded the Perdu bar. The bar is now under new management.
Ms Hildreth, whose son Cameron is now seven months old, told the tribunal that Mrs Maher said to her: "I don't think that if you keep this baby we can keep you. It's a young business and we have to put that first." She said she was also asked how committed she was to Cameron's father, Mark Shields, who now is now her co-manager at the city's Loch Fyne restaurant. She returned to work after the suspension but resigned after several weeks of what she described as "harassment, a very negative appraisal, having my wages docked and my life made a misery".
NEWS - 1 April 2007 - Maternity leave and pay are to be extended from Sunday
The laws covering maternity rights are too complicated, the TUC has told the BBC. As rights for new mothers change again on Sunday, the organisation blamed the complexities for many mothers and employers not understanding the rules.
It called on the government to do more to tell women of working age their rights if they become pregnant. And it warned that employers are breaking the law due to ignorance of maternity rules.
The TUC was responding to surveys from the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Institute of Payroll Professionals. The studies indicate that at least half of mothers and many employers are ignorant of existing maternity rights and the changes that begin on 1 April. Under the new rules, working mothers whose babies are expected on Sunday, 1 April 2007 or later, will now qualify for a full year's maternity leave - however long they have been with their employer.
Previously, some employees who had worked for less than nine months got just six months leave. Women who earn at least £87 a week and have been at their place of work for 41 weeks before the baby is due can now get 39 weeks maternity pay - six weeks at 90% of their full pay, and another 33 at up to £112.75 a week.
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