A Dundee mum has been awarded more than £25,000 after an employment tribunal found she was unfairly discriminated against for being pregnant.
Antonia Ogilvie, known as Toni, was dismissed from her job as a cleaner with now defunct Evora Contracts in March.
The tribunal heard Ms Ogilvie was employed by the firm from August 2022 but had began to suffer from sickness due to her pregnancy in November.
This resulted in her being off from work for around five weeks, returning to the job in January 2023.
Ms Ogilvie, 29, was then signed off sick with back pain in February.
The following month she was informed through a WhatsApp message her contract had been terminated with immediate effect due to her “medical conditions”.
The message added Ms Ogilvie’s health had to be a “priority”.
Ms Ogilvie subsequently sued the owner of the cleaning firm, Kendra Mann, for discrimination.
Dundee mum’s employment tribunal twist
The tribunal heard how the dismissal left the mother-of-two “distressed, disheartened and upset” and she had to undergo counselling as a result.
In a bizarre twist, attempts were made by a third party – an individual referred to as Mr John Smith – to postpone a judgement in the case by claiming he “owned” Ms Mann.
He also questioned the authority of the tribunal, citing the Declaration of Arbroath, an unspecified piece of UN legislation, and the Hague Convention of Private International Law.
Paperwork said the company owner, Ms Mann, wrote to the tribunal saying she would not be attending the hearing and advised “the relevant individual” – which turned out to be Mr Smith – would be in touch.
The report then described Mr Smith’s bizarre statement.
It read: “In Mr Smith’s messages, in very brief outline, he claimed that he owned the persons of Ms Kendra Mann, raised various issues of what he claimed to be international law, and questioned the authority of the tribunal.
“He sought, in effect, the postponed of the final hearing.”
This claim was dismissed by the tribunal and in the written judgement of the case, the judge described the attempts to postpone it as “scandalous”.
The judgement added: “The conduct of both the respondent and Mr Smith on her behalf is, we consider, to be regarded as scandalous, unreasonable or vexatious under the rule.
“The magnitude of the overall picture was significant, unprecedented in the judge’s experience.”
‘Not about the money but the principle’
The tribunal found in favour of Ms Ogilvie and awarded her a total of £25,777 for “injury to feelings”.
She was awarded a further £777 for an unauthorised deduction of wages.
Speaking on the judgement, Ms Ogilvie said: “I did nothing wrong, all I did was get pregnant.
“It’s been a long process but if you feel like you’ve been discriminated against, go see someone about it and ask.
“My solicitor was with me every step of the way and was so helpful, he gave me the confidence (to do this).
“It’s not about the money but it’s the principle.”
A spokesperson for MML Law, the Dundee firm who represented Ms Ogilvie, said: “This is yet another amazing result for one of our clients in an unprecedented case as described by the judge.
“In all of the years we have never seen such a bizarre argument before an employment tribunal.
“We are delighted to get justice for our client in the most unusual of cases.”
Both the owner of Evora Contracts and Mr Smith did not wish to comment.