May 22, 2022, 18:45

    WHSmith worker wins £25,000 after boss said she must bring her daughter into work

    WHSmith worker wins £25,000 after boss said she must bring her daughter into work

    A WHSmith worker was awarded more than £25,000 after she was forced to bring her daughter to work when her manager made her work on Saturdays.

    In 2018, Jacqueline Keating was the sole carer for her eight-year-old child and had asked not to work at weekends because she did not have anyone she could ask to help watch her.

    Her "frustrated" boss told her she had to work a four-hour shift and organise her own replacement if she could not, the employment tribunal in South London heard.

    Ms Keating was forced to quit and then sued the high street chain for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.

    The panel awarded her £25,558.55 in compensation after finding that forcing women, as primary caregivers, to work on Saturdays put them at a disadvantage.

    Ms Keating started working at the WHSmith chain in London in October 2015 on a 20-hour contract – plus a further eight when required, the panel heard.

    In July 2018, her boss – who was only named in documents as Mr Cruikshank – introduced a Saturday rota.

    Weekday staff were now required to work one weekend day a month to combat falling sales revenue and after university students who normally worked that shift had quit, the tribunal heard.

    On numerous occasions, this rota was a "massive issue" for the single mum, who had no family or social network to help her out, the tribunal heard.

    She tried to talk to her boss multiple times and even sent a text, which went ignored, it was said.

    In September 2018, she was told that if she could not work the Saturdays she had been put down for she would have to do her organise her own swaps, the panel heard.

    The next month, Ms Keating was forced to ask WHSmith and her boss to sign off on letting her daughter accompany her to work.

    The panel found this to be an indication of her "obvious and significant childcare issues".

    It also found it should have been a "red flag" to managers but her boss "neglected his responsibility" and didn't try and find other staff to cover for her.

    For one particular Saturday, Ms Keating told her boss no one could look after her daughter.

    Mr Cruikshank accepted during the tribunal that he had told the mum that if he let her skip work on Saturday, then everyone else would want the same.

    Ms Keating quit in October 2018 and Mr Cruikshank argued at the tribunal that he would have asked about finding cover but she had quit.

    The panel also found there was "woefully inadequate" information about how many of the WHSmith staff were women or had child-caring responsibilities.

    Employment Judge Omar Khalil concluded: "It appeared… that there was either casualness and/or a lack of HR support for Mr Cruikshank, alternatively inadequacy of diversity training.

    "Mr Cruikshank’s disinterest was rooted in his desire for Ms Keating to sort out swaps with her colleagues or simply to find a child care solution herself.

    "This was a surprising neglect of his responsibility."

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    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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