Law firm receptionist wins claims of pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination

A law firm receptionist has successfully sued bosses who told her she was ‘no longer needed’ while off work sick with the same debilitating state of morning sickness suffered by Kate Middleton.

Kiran Nasreen was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which can leave women bedridden and vomiting, and told her boss, Dr Akbar Ali Malik, that she was unable to work.

But an employment tribunal heard her text messages and the calls were ignored, so her husband went to the office on her behalf to explain.

The panel was told that Dr Malik was ‘hostile’ and refused to take her sick notes or medical evidence because she was ‘no longer needed’ after working at the company for three years.

The Duchess of Cambridge suffered from the disease in all three of her pregnancies and ended up in hospital while carrying Prince George.

It affects up to 2% of women in the UK and is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization during pregnancy, according to the NHS.

Kiran Nasreen has been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which can leave women bedridden and vomiting, and told her boss, Dr Akbar Ali Malik (pictured), she was unable to work But she was told she was no longer needed

Ms Nasreen has now won her discrimination claim after a panel ruled bosses thought her difficult pregnancy was ‘inconvenient’ for the company.

Ms Nasreen, originally from Pakistan, started working for Malik Law Chambers, a London-based immigration law firm, in December 2014 as a receptionist. Dr. Malik was her supervisor and the couple had a good working relationship.

In December 2017, she became pregnant. The court, held remotely in east London, heard: ‘It is clear from the medical records that she and her husband had been trying for a baby for some time.

“It is also evident that as soon as she had a positive pregnancy test she saw a doctor.

“She started having adverse symptoms, including severe illness, almost immediately at the start of her pregnancy.”

The following month, she informed Dr. Malik that she was pregnant and that she was already suffering from a certain illness and that she might encounter other difficulties and therefore would need time off, the learned the panel.

After leaving work on January 20, she texted Dr. Malik saying she was very sick and apologizing for not being able to come in.

Ms Nasreen, who is from Pakistan, started working for Malik Law Chambers (pictured), a London-based immigration law firm, in December 2014 as a receptionist where Dr Malik was her supervisor and the couple had a good working relationship.

Ms Nasreen, who is from Pakistan, started working for Malik Law Chambers (pictured), a London-based immigration law firm, in December 2014 as a receptionist where Dr Malik was her supervisor and the couple had a good working relationship.

Although her husband reiterated that her illness was pregnancy-related, Dr. Malik dismissed her, the court heard.  Pictured is Dr. Malik's Law Show

Although her husband reiterated that her illness was pregnancy-related, Dr. Malik dismissed her, the court heard. Pictured is Dr. Malik’s Law Show

But the panel heard he didn’t return those calls, or his calls. Mrs Nasreen’s husband then went to the office to give Dr Malik copies of sick notes and medical evidence as in February 2018 when she was seven weeks pregnant she was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

Although her husband reiterated that her illness was pregnancy-related, Dr. Malik dismissed her, the court heard.

Ms Nasreen then returned her sick note and hospital letter, hoping that Dr Malik would reconsider his decision to fire her.

But she then received her December payment along with her Christmas bonus and nothing more despite having worked until January 20, we learned at the hearing.

Ms Nasreen successfully sued her bosses in an employment tribunal for pregnancy discrimination, unauthorized withholding from wages and wrongful dismissal.

The panel – led by labor judge David Massarella – concluded that the problems only arose when she had become pregnant, with Malik Law Chambers taking “none of the usual steps in relation to a pregnant employee”.

Judge Massarella said: “We infer from all the evidence that [Dr Malik’s] his attitude towards her changed when he realized that she was going through a difficult pregnancy, which entailed a long period of sick leave and (inevitably) a period of maternity leave.

Dr Malik wrote a book last year, three years after his practice closed, on 'how to become a millionaire', with a foreword by Dr Philip Beresford - who is on the Sunday Times Rich List

Dr Malik wrote a book last year, three years after his practice closed, on ‘how to become a millionaire’, with a foreword by Dr Philip Beresford – who is on the Sunday Times Rich List

“It was not practical for the practice and Dr. Malik decided to summarily dispense with his services.

“The problems only started after she got pregnant. Dr. Malik’s attitude towards her and her husband became hostile and uncooperative.

Malik Law Chambers was shut down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2018, two months after Ms Nasreen was fired.

The Lawyers Regulatory Authority said at the time: “There is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Dr Akbar Ali Malik and on the part of Mr Imtiaz Ali, the directors of the firm, in relationship to business activities.

Dr Malik wrote a book last year, three years after his practice closed, on ‘how to become a millionaire’, with a foreword by Dr Philip Beresford – who is on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The cover of the book features the slogans “attract abundance, prosperity and fortune” and “from rags to riches”.

An appeal hearing will decide the amount of Ms. Nasreen’s compensation.

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