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GMB Fights For Woman Sacked For Being Pregnant By Law Firm

GMB, Britain's general union, is to take a firm of solicitors to Employment Tribunal over the sacking of a pregnant woman worker.

Graham Hobbs the Practice Manager of solicitors firm Foskett, Marr, Gadsby & Head Solicitors, 181 High Street, Epping sacked Derrinda Bilgin on 24th September 2004. The Employment Tribunal is set for 25th & 26th July 05 at 10am.

Married, 39 year old Derrinda Bilgin of Harlow, Essex had baby Melissa a month early on 16th Jan 05. As an experienced legal Secretary, Derrinda joined Foskett, Marr Gadsby & Head Solicitors on 24th May 04 working for Nick Gadsby a Conveyancing Solicitor. During her 3-month probation a position was to become available within the litigation department at the firm. However he did agree for her to move on condition that the company found a secretary as good as Dee to takeover her job with him. She was told that he thought Dee was a valuable asset to the firm and did not want to lose her.

Following an accident at work on 29th July Dee was off work. During this time Graham Hobbs kept in contact with her advising her that the move to the litigation department would definitely still happen. He urged her to get back to work by asking her to go by bus if she couldn't drive and suggesting she go for private physiotherapy against her GP's advice.

Then Dee found out that she was pregnant. GMB advised Dee to tell the firm that she was pregnant as they had a duty to ensure she was working in a safe environment and they needed to know in order to protect her and her unborn child. She informed the firm on 10th August 04. From then on the firm's attitude toward her changed. She returned to work on 31st August Dee and was advised that the litigation position had been filled. A week before Dee's extended probation ended she was told by Graham Hobbs that Nick Gadsby did not think things were working out between herself and him. He advised her that she would have to temp in another area until they could find somewhere for her even though there were two other posts vacant at the time.

A recent EOC report (see notes to editors) revealed that 30,000 women a year are forced out of their jobs though pregnancy.

Stephanie Attwood, GMB Organiser said, "GMB see this case as cut and dried. Once Dee told Foskett, Marr, Gadsby & Head, who like to portray themselves as a family law firm, that she was pregnant she, lost both the promised job in litigation and her own position in conveyancing. I feel it is appalling that a company that prides itself on a long history as a family firm is actively eroding the rights of women with their imperious behaviour. It is deplorable that firms such as this are still operating medieval practices in the 21st Century. Anyone thinking of going to them for legal advice should think long and hard before doing so about their attitude to pregnant women."

Dee Bilgin is now happily employed in a law firm that appreciates her skills.

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