British mother fired for having an ‘inconvenient’ pregnancy

A mother was told her pregnancy was “inconvenient” for her boss while she was off work sick with the same debilitating morning sickness condition suffered by Kate Middleton.

Receptionist Kiran Nasreen was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which can leave women bedridden and vomiting, and told her boss, Dr. Akbar Ali Malik, she was unable to work.

But an employment tribunal heard her texts and calls were ignored so her husband went into the office on her behalf to explain.

The panel was told Dr. Malik was “hostile” and refused to take her sick notes or medical evidence because she “was no longer needed” after working at the firm for three years.

The Duchess of Cambridge suffered from the condition with all three of her pregnancies and ended up in hospital while carrying Prince George.

It affects up to 2 percent of women in the UK and is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization during pregnancy, according to the NHS.

Mrs. Nasreen has now won her discrimination claim after a panel ruled that bosses believed her difficult pregnancy was “inconvenient” to the firm.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton
Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton endured morning sickness while pregnant with Prince George.
Andrew Parsons/Images/ZUMA Wire

Mrs. Nasreen, who is from Pakistan, began working for Malik Law Chambers, a London-based immigration solicitors firm, in December 2014 as a receptionist where Dr Malik was her line manager and the pair had a good working relationship.

In December 2017, she became pregnant.

The tribunal, held remotely in East London, heard: “It is clear from the medical records that she and her husband had been trying for a baby for some time.

“It is also apparent that, as soon as she had a positive pregnancy test, she sought medical advice.

“She began to have adverse symptoms, including severe sickness, almost immediately at the start of her pregnancy.”

The following month, she told Dr. Malik about her pregnancy and that she was already having some sickness and might encounter further difficulties so may need time off, the panel heard.

After she went off work on January 20, she sent texts to Dr. Malik saying she was very unwell and apologized for being unable to come in.

But the panel heard he did not answer these, nor her calls.

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is much worse than the normal morning sickness experienced during pregnancy.

Unlike regular pregnancy sickness, HG may not get better by 14 weeks and for many needs hospital treatment.

Sufferers may be sick numerous times each day and be unable to keep food or drink down, which can massively impact their everyday life.

Sickness may not clear up completely until the baby is born, although some symptoms can improve at around 20 weeks.

Side view close-up of pregnant woman touching her belly.
Pregnant women with hyperemesis gravidarum can experience alarming weight loss.
Getty Images

HG is unlikely to harm your baby, but can cause you to lose weight during your pregnancy, so there is an increase in chance your baby will weigh less than expected.

Symptoms include:

  • prolonged nausea and vomiting with some women being sick up to 50 times a day
  • dehydration – sufferers can’t keep fluids down, if you’re drinking less than 500ml a day, the NHS recommends you seek help
  • ketosis – a serious condition that results in the build-up of acidic chemicals in the blood and urine
  • low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing

Mrs. Nasreen’s husband then went into the office to give Dr. Malik copies of sick notes and medical evidence in February 2018, after she was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum while seven weeks pregnant.

Despite her husband reiterating that her illness was pregnancy-related, Dr. Malik sacked her, the tribunal heard.

Mrs. Nasreen then sent her sick note and hospital letter again, hoping Dr. Malik would reconsider his decision to fire her.

But she later received her December payment along with her Christmas bonus and nothing further despite her having worked until January 20, the hearing was told.

Mrs. Nasreen has now successfully sued her bosses at an employment tribunal for pregnancy discrimination, unauthorized deduction from wages and unfair dismissal.

The panel — headed by Employment Judge David Massarella — concluded that problems only arose when she became pregnant, with Malik Law Chambers taking ‘none of the usual steps in relation to a pregnant employee.”

Judge Massarella said: “We infer from all the evidence that [Dr. Malik’s] attitude to her changed when he realized she was having a difficult pregnancy, which was giving rise to a protracted period of sickness absence and (inevitably) a period of maternity leave.

“This was inconvenient to the firm and Dr. Malik decided to dispense with her services in a summary fashion.

“The problems only arose after she became pregnant. Dr. Malik’s attitude to her and her husband became hostile and uncooperative.”

Malik Law Chambers was shut down by Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2018, two months after Mrs. Nasreen was fired.

A remedy hearing will decide on how much compensation she is paid.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.