Robert Walters, one of the biggest IT agencies in the UK, are currently being sued for wrongful dismissal by a former employee who claimed she was sacked ‘˜for being pregnant‘. She claimed to an employment tribunal that there was a laddish atmosphere at the company, and an anti-pregnancy atmosphere to boot.
She claimed that there was a drinking culture at the company and that the male members of staff often visited lap-dancing clubs.
It‘s a fair bet to say that many of those high up in Robert Walters will currently be getting questions from their partners on this issue.
Louisa McCarty said that her boss, Will Adam, sent an email to female staff saying ‘No babies! Make sure they‘ve had hysterectomies – or however you spell it!’
Louisa was Robert Walters‘ divisional director of permanent banking appointments.
According to another senior female member of staff, Emma Johnstone, ‘The vast majority of managers and directors were male and they promoted the ‘˜laddish culture‘. Meetings were often held in the pub, on the golf course, with occasional sessions at lap-dancing clubs. Those meetings were not open to women managers. For example on golf days, where often very senior clients attended, both Louisa McCarty and I were specifically excluded because ‘˜women can‘t play golf‘.’
David Magowan, who was Miss McCarty‘s line manager, told the court, ‘The proposed redundancy and the fact that Ms McCarty was pregnant had absolutely nothing to do with each other. It was simply a case of a layer of management being stripped out of the company due to market conditions’.
In this grim market, Robert Walters don‘t have their troubles to seek. If they lost this case it would mean another one-off cost that they‘ll have to grin and bear.
The hearing continues.
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