Fashion company accused of sexism
According to the legal blog site 'Commericalblawg' a former senior executive at a major fashion label is suing her previous employer for discrimination and constructive dismissal after she resigned in 2011.
Ms Kate Torpey is taking Robson Webster Holdings – which owns the fashion labels Jigsaw and Kew - to a tribunal, claiming that her employer’s attitude towards her constituted a “fundamental breach of contract.”
She resigned from her employment in December 2011. She subsequently complained to the Employment Tribunal that she had been constructively dismissed, that she had been subjected to direct sex discrimination, and that she had been subject to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
According to 'Commericalblawg' she was upset by the owner of Jigsaw’s (Mr Paul Robinson) comments on maternity leave. Mr Robinson stated “proudly” to her that his wife had returned to work within days of giving birth and this had put her on edge as she believed that he would look disapprovingly on her taking a longer time off work after giving birth.
After returning to work she subsequently announced her third pregnancy. A fellow director allegedly commented that this situation wasn’t “ideal” and Ms Torpey was signed off work sick with stress in November 2011.
The Employment Tribunal heard at the hearing that Ms Torpey had been told by Mr Robinson in 2010 that he thought it would be “very difficult” to do her job with a child and that to attempt to do her job with two children would be “totally useless”.
She further stated that she had received an email in November 2010 from Mr Robinson in which he wrote he had “lost confidence” in her and that her “main aim was to have children”. Mr Robinson – for his part – stated that he may have said that doing her job with children would be difficult, that he hadn’t stated that trying to do her job with two children would be “totally useless”, and that it was his opinion that the role that Ms Torpey was attempting to undertake required a full-time candidate. Nick Bartlett, HR representative for Robson Webster Holdings – told the Tribunal that the company was “very family friendly”.
The case continues.
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