A mother who lost her home after bosses cut her hours when she fell pregnant and refused to pay her maternity pay has won her case at an employment tribunal.

Pauline Rodger and her three children, including her newborn daughter, had to move in with a family friend after she got into financial trouble because of the actions of home care firm Appropriate Services.

Her monthly wages were cut by hundreds of pounds due to the reduction in hours and she received nothing from the 
company while on maternity leave, even though it can reclaim nearly all the money from HMRC.

Ms Rodger, who was a supervisor with Appropriate Services, has been awarded more than £35,000 after winning her case for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, but may not receive any of it because the business is due to be struck off the companies register.

The 34-year-old, from Castlemilk, said “everything fell apart” last July when she began maternity leave and had to give up her home because she had no income.

“I was panicking, it was terrible, especially being pregnant,” she said. 

“You start to make plans of how your house is going to look and where the baby is going to sleep and then all that was gone all of a sudden. 

“And then living with someone else with a new baby – although my friend has been lovely and has had no issue with us staying – it’s still the impact of not having your own roof over your head. You’re living in somebody else’s house. 
The whole thing has been quite stressful for me and the kids and my bosses have shown absolutely no remorse for what has happened.”

The tribunal heard that Ms Rodger began working for the firm in November 2017 and had a contract of 35 hours a week. She discovered she was pregnant in February the following year and emailed her manager Fredrick Rodgers, the husband of company owner Suad Abdullah, to tell him.

Ms Rodger said Ms Abdullah began “acting funny” the next time she saw her, adding: “There was definitely a coldness right from the start and then things just spiralled after that.”

Soon after, when Ms Rodger arrived for work one morning, Ms Abdullah told her that her hours were being cut from 35 a week to 14.

Ms Rodger was issued with a new contract but she refused to accept the changes, arguing that it would mean a drop in earnings of more than £800 a month before tax and that, due to the timing of the change, her maternity pay would also be reduced.

Despite this, her hours were reduced and she worked 14 hours a week “under protest” from the beginning of April.

In a written judgment, employment judge Claire McManus said: “It was clear from the evidence that, had the claimant not been pregnant, she would not have had her hours reduced.

“The claimant was the only employee of the respondent who was pregnant. No other employee had their hours of work reduced. No other employee was issued with changes to their contract of employment.”

Judge McManus awarded Ms Rodger more than £10,000 for pregnancy and maternity discrimination and £25,000 for victimisation. 

Her judgment added that the firm’s actions “have had and continue to have a severely detrimental financial effect on [Ms Rodger] and have caused her significant distress, upset and concern about the uncertainty of her financial situation and the worry about the impact of the situation on her family”.

The only money the mother-of-three received on maternity leave was working tax credits – most of which went to pay for her youngest son’s nursery place.
Ms Rodger has been able to get her maternity pay backdated by HMRC, but it has taken months for that to be agreed.

She said: “To be told that you’re getting compensation and then find out that you’re not actually getting any of it, it’s worse than just being told you’re getting nothing at the start.”

Ms Rodger’s solicitor, Mark Allison,, of Livingstone Brown, said: “This was a particularly extreme example of an employer’s mistreatment of a pregnant employee. 

The company is due to be struck off the register of companies, meaning that Ms Rodger is now unlikely to get any of the sums from them which the tribunal found she was entitled to.”

The Herald tried to contact Appropriate Services but received no response.