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Beauty therapist awarded £18,000 following unfair dismissal claim

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A beauty therapist who was dismissed from her job at a health club has been awarded an employment Tribunal payout of more than £18,000.

Emma Holt was unfairly dismissed after child care needs stopped her working weekends, a court heard.

The Tribunal also ruled that Ms Holt suffered sex discrimination because her bosses insisted that she should switch her working pattern to include weekends, despite her saying she was unable to get childcare for her son.

The Tribunal found that in the decade of Ms Holt working at the health club, she had only ever worked weekends in exceptional circumstances, such as to cover for sick colleagues.

Saturdays and Sundays were not included in her normal working pattern, and none of her colleagues complained about this, it found.

The court heard how managers at the health club in early 2016 tried to impose weekend working on Ms Holt, who refused and subsequently dismissed – although the firm claimed it was a redundancy.

Ms Holt made it clear that she could not work weekends because she had no other option than to look after her son on Saturdays and Sunday.

She told her bosses: “My personal life doesn’t allow me to work weekends.

“I have always given 150 per cent in this company and I have always run the spa like it is my own. Whatever days I am in they get my full attention and I have put in extra time when needed in the past.

“I am not trying to be difficult with this.

“I just can’t set days due to my childcare. I fully understand where the business is coming from. I have no objections to working weekends but I just can’t get childcare that my son will go to.”

The Tribunal concluded that a senior manager at the firm had not conducted “any meaningful investigation” in the matters raised by the claimant.

Ms Holt was awarded a total of £18,399 – £10,399 for being unfairly dismissed and £8,000 for injury to her feelings.