Beauty firm Liz Earle must pay Southsea mum £17,000 for sacking her while she was heavily pregnant

A MUM who was sacked from her job working for a leading beauty brand while heavily pregnant toasted victory after winning her tribunal case - leaving the company having to fork out £17,000.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 3:39 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 5:50 pm
Helen Larkin with her children Alice and Dexter Picture submitted by Helen Larkin

Helen Larkin, 38, took on the might of Liz Earle by herself to win her case of maternity discrimination and unfair dismissal at Southampton Tribunal Court.

The mum-of-two from Southsea highlighted glaring failings by the Isle of Wight company in its conduct when ‘rushing’ her redundancy in June last year before she had her baby the following month.

It meant the expectant mum was dismissed while outside of the legally protected period of maternity leave to ‘cast a shadow over’ the birth of her daughter Alice.

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Mrs Larkin revealed the devastating impact of losing her digital channel marketing role.

‘What should have been a time of celebration was taken from me,’ she said.

‘I was scared, embarrassed, isolated and felt the joy had been sucked out of my impending birth. I was scared for the health of my baby as I knew high levels of stress at the latter stages of pregnancy could be detrimental to the future health of my unborn baby.

‘I was scared about how I would manage financially. Being the breadwinner of the family I faced having no job security.

‘This worry and angst continued through my maternity leave, negatively affecting the time I should have been focusing on my daughter.’

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Mrs Larkin was also snubbed for two ‘relevant roles’ after being told her job was up for redundancy under restructuring plans by Liz Earle, owned by American pharmaceutical giant Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Julie Slaymaker, Mrs Larkin’s new boss, also failed to inform the expectant mum of her vacating boss’s job, which she could have filled.

Tribunal judge Catherine Rayner revealed her concerns about Liz Earle’s conduct during the emotional four-day hearing that repeatedly saw Mrs Larkin break down in tears.

‘At best it is an error and at worst deliberate obfuscation,’ the judge said of the firm’s inability to disclose requested documents.

Tribunal panel member Paul Bompas also savaged the company after pointing out they did not have a redundancy policy and made the ‘minimum effort’ to find Mrs Larkin alternative work.

The verdict means Liz Earle, which denied the allegations, will have to pay Mrs Larkin £17, 303.