Posted on 25th July 2018

A female employee at DWP has been awarded £24,000 in compensation after she was discriminated against because of IVF treatment.

In the case of Ginger v Department for Work and Pensions, the Employment Tribunal held that the DWP had discriminated against a female employee when a colleague asked her whether she could cope with a second child and when she was refused leave to take further IVF treatment.

Mrs Ginger commenced her employment with the DWP in July 2009 , where she was employed as a work coach at Luton Job Centre. In 2011, she began a course of IVF treatment and gave birth to a son. In 2013 she began a further course of IVF treatment and in June 2014 she had a three-day absence from work for pregnancy – related /childbirth complications. In July 2014 she began a further course of IVF treatment and informed her then – manager, Mr Mills, that she may need time off at short notice for IVF treatment. At the end of September 2014, Mrs Ginger suffered a miscarraige and was therefore absent from work until January 14th, 2015.

On January 15th, 2015 Mrs Ginger attended a return to work interview with Mr Mills. Mrs Ginger confirmed that she had been absent from work after suffering two miscarraiges , and that she was undergoing counselling due to her miscarraige. Mrs Ginger alleged that at this meeting Mr Mills stated to her “in order to have a miscarraige your pregnancy must be confirmed“.

Mrs Ginger subsequently made a claim for pregnancy discrimination in the Employment Tribunal, which upheld her claim as follows: In April, 2015 Mr Mills asked her if she could cope with a second child and whether it was a good idea to have further IVF treatment – the Tribunal found that this conduct amounted to direct sex discrimination, as the Tribunal held that Mr Mills would not have spoken to a man in this manner. The Tribunal also found that, as Mrs Ginger was refused leave in May 2015 to attend for further IVF treament – this conduct amounted to direct sex discrimination, as the Tribunal held that Mr Mills would not have spoken to a man in this manner.

Ginger v Department for Work and Pensions 3401940/2015

Charles Price
Barrister
www.charlesprice.net