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Press Releases and Research

Press Release: Woman wins £17,000 after being unfairly dismissed for taking sick leave after having an ectopic pregnancy

Press Release 11th November 2021: Hannah Pawley has won £17,000 in her case of discrimination against her former employer.

Hannah Pawley, a chef at Hanley’s Restaurant, was fired by her employer after she took 3 weeks sick leave due to an ectopic pregnancy. Her employer also refused to pay her statutory sick leave whilst she was off work and purposefully falsified records to hide the fact that he was not paying her the sick leave she was entitled to. This made it impossible for her to claim benefits.

Ms Pawley’s leave was certified as pregnancy related sickness, and according to the law, she was therefore entitled to take as much leave as necessary without any detriment to her employment. Her employer had been informed by Ms Pawley that she had experienced an ectopic pregnancy and needed time to physically recover.

Hannah Pawley had been working for Hanley’s Restaurant for five months and as a chef for four years when she was fired after having an ectopic pregnancy. In November 2019, Hannah suffered an ectopic pregnancy and had to take sick leave as she became very unwell and had to deal with strong medical treatment. The trauma of the ectopic pregnancy, discrimination, and abruptly being fired made it very difficult for Hannah to return to work.

Due to the stress, she became so fearful of returning to the high pressure environment that she had to take up a position as a kitchen porter; for much lower pay than she was previously earning.

She bravely took her employer to court and has been fighting her case since November 2019. After almost two years of fighting, and her former employer slowing down court proceedings by missing three court dates and not attending the final hearing, the case was struck out and she has been awarded £12,000 for injury to feelings and £5,000 for her sick pay and potential lost earnings.


Hannah had this to say:

“I felt used and betrayed by my employer Sean Hanley, I asked for my monies owed and a valid reason for firing me. As he couldn’t provide one, I felt I had no other option but to bring my case forward to ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and fight. Even at my most broken and vulnerable point I felt I had to fight for this gross wrongdoing.

The relief to know that it has been officially recognised and noted that I was treated poorly is hugely healing. I hope this is not only a warning to employers but a big plus to any women who feel they have been wronged. If it feels wrong- it probably is”

Taryn Robinson from Pregnant Then Screwed, a charity working to end the motherhood penalty had this to say:

“ At Pregnant Then Screwed we hear of women being forced out of their jobs following a miscarriage time and time again. Sadly these women rarely use the law to access the justice they deserve as they simply don’t have the emotional energy. Employers need to do so much better to ensure their workplaces are fair and safe environments for everyone.

There is a national conversation taking place about the importance of progressive reproductive health related policies. Cases like Hannah’s show the negative impact that a lack of support and protection can have on women and their careers. Employers such as Asos, Kelloggs, Monzo, John Lewis and Abel and Cole have all recently updated and launched new fairer reproductive health policies. It’s time all companies followed their lead.

For anyone that this has happened to, cases like Hannah’s show that you are not alone and can stand up for your rights. If you are experiencing pregnancy or maternity discrimination, please contact our free helpline. Our team of expert advisers are ready to help on 0161 2229879”

One third of employers have said they won’t hire women of childbearing age and, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, one in nine women a year are forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy or for taking maternity leave.

Daniel Vulliamy, volunteer employment caseworker for Citizens Advice who represented Hannah through the case emphasised the resilience and determination needed to get through a long process which the employer delayed at every turn.

“Bad employers need to be held to account…Hannah has struck a blow for her own family and for all women wanting to have babies”.



For further press information via Pregnant Then Screwed please contact: [email protected]

Notes to the Editor:

  • An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb. It is impossible to save these pregnancies and they may pose health risks if they continue.
  • Hannah has since had a baby and started her own homemade food delivery service business.
  • Ms Pawley had been fighting her case since November 2019 and received her victorious judgement on October 5th 2021
  • Ms Pawley may be available for interview subject to terms


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