A new mother with no legal training is defending herself to win £60,000 in compensation from Morrisons. | Media Pyro


A new mum who didn’t have a day of legal training has won £60,000 in compensation from Morrisons after they changed her job and forced her to work full-time after maternity leave.

Donna Patterson, 38, said she had been “reluctant” to take on extra hours and later filed for legal aid after suffering a setback at work.

The former agent spent five days interviewing eight former colleagues, and used meeting minutes to show how managers “questioned” his priorities after he pregnancy.

A judge eventually ruled that she should be awarded £60,442.25 in compensation after hearing that the grocer had planned to drop her after she revealed she had given birth.

Ms Patterson said after the “horrendous” case at Leeds Employment Tribunal, where she clashed with legal professionals before winning a unanimous verdict, tears of relief flowed to his eyes.

The mother-of-one said: “I just sat there with tears streaming down my face. By definition it’s a reward – a reward for all the stress, for all the hard work and for everyone to say ‘why not just go ahead and get on with it’.”

He added: “It’s very helpful. I knew what happened was wrong but it probably didn’t break the right legal criteria.

“Fortunately I’m a very good judge and panelist, and what I did made it clear that the labor law had been violated.”

Ms Patterson, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, first worked at Morrisons in 2008 before leaving and returning in 2018 to work in sales for the online sales team.

Then he was asked to change his position to the food department. However, she said after telling the company she was pregnant with her second baby “the job was taken away from me”.

Ms Patterson went on maternity leave in August 2020, before giving birth to her second child, who is now two. But soon after she was born, she got a call from HR saying that the online group had been “re-instated”.

Ms Patterson said: “My baby was almost two months old at the time of the pandemic so I’m probably not in the right place to be discussing this.

“At the tribunal that’s what really upset the judge – there was no safeguarding.”

After he decided to return to work in August 2021, he contacted the company several times to ask what his new job was but got no response.

Eventually she emailed someone in HR, who told her the only job available to her was in key markets.

Ms Patterson said management at Morrisons had refused to let her work from home or work half days to pick up her children.

And when she returned to work, Ms Patterson said her manager said she expected her to work regularly – even though she was not on the previously agreed shift pattern.

Ms Patterson said she was “inundated with work” and said “people criticize me for not meeting deadlines”.

He added: “I was very clear. I was drunk.

“I showed them why it couldn’t be done and they just sat there and said ‘No it’s fine, you’re good at what you do and you just have to do it’.

“I said, ‘I can work myself to the breaking point doing this part-time job, or I can work part-time hours and destroy the reputation I’ve built for 15 years.”

In December last year, Ms Patterson’s doctor signed her up for work-related stress, and around this time, she said her manager called her with a work-related question.

In March this year, he resigned due to a “serious breach of trust” and was looking at legal action without the help of the coaching staff.

He added that his home insurance providers “couldn’t believe I had a successful claim on my hands”, and that lawyers had asked for tens of thousands of pounds, which was “disappointing”.

In the five-day “extended” tribunal, which began on October 17, he examined eight of his former friends.

After she left, she submitted a data subject access request and saw a letter detailing a plan to deport her while she was pregnant.

Ms Patterson said: “The judge went as far as it came. Planning to abort a pregnant woman is totally unacceptable.

The mother added that meeting minutes she was given showed how her manager “questioned my priorities” after she gave birth to her second child.

An HR representative also told the court that the creation of the online group was “inappropriate” during Patterson’s pregnancy.

Another file showed that Morrisons expected him to be in contact even on non-working days, and on October 21 the judge said the group had reached a unanimous decision against him.

A spokesperson from Morrisons said: “The happiness and well-being of our colleagues is an important part of our culture and we treat mothers returning from maternity with consideration, acceptance and fairness. important to us.

“However, we do not accept that we acted in a wrongful way in this case and believe that many details were misrepresented, and we plan to appeal.”


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