Southsea mum tells tribunal she was shocked by being told to 'look for new companies' by Liz Earle manager before going on maternity leave

A MUM claiming pregnancy discrimination against a cosmetics giant told a tribunal she was left ‘shocked and surprised’ when her manager dropped a bombshell by telling her to ‘enjoy her new baby’ before ‘looking for new companies’.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 2:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 3:13 pm
Helen Larkin with her children Picture submitted by Helen Larkin

Staff at Liz Earle Beauty were told of the firm’s ‘restructuring’ plans where jobs could be at risk - including heavily pregnant Helen Larkin’s digital channel marketing manager role.

But the 38-year-old knew the writing was on the wall when her line manager Julie Slaymaker effectively told her to look for a new job just before she was due to go on maternity leave.

Mrs Larkin was made redundant from her position on June 15 last year before having her baby on July 24.

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The mum-of-two from Southsea, who worked for the company between 2013-18, told Southampton Tribunal Court: ‘On 30 May I had a meeting with Julie who discussed how I should take time out to enjoy my baby before looking for new companies.

‘(This was) despite me saying I wanted to continue working with the company.’

She added: ‘I went into the meeting thinking how I was staying in the business. I was shocked and surprised when Julie told me what she did.

‘From that point I could tell I was leaving the business. I was upset and perplexed. I felt my time at the company was over.’

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Mum who was made redundant from Liz Earle cosmetics weeks before giving birth ta...

Mrs Larkin is claiming unfair dismissal and pregnancy discrimination against Liz Earle, a subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance which owns retail giant Boots, after believing her redundancy was ‘entirely due to my pregnancy’.

Mrs Larkin said she was subjected to unfair procedures while being made redundant just two weeks after being told about Liz Earle’s restructuring plans.

The claimant, who said she later discovered her role was being performed by a new recruit under a different name for less money, told the hearing she applied for two other relevant roles without receiving interviews at the Isle of Wight company.

‘While at risk of redundancy I applied for two roles I considered to be suitable alternatives. I was not interviewed for either role,’ she said.

‘It is my contention that my redundancy was accelerated to prevent me gaining entitlement to being offered suitable alternative employment.’

(Proceeding)