Winning for women at work

Winning for women at work

A crowd of women celebrates

Prospect has provided legal support to many women who challenged entrenched discrimination and harassment at work.

Over the decades, it has been the brave and determined efforts of these women which has developed equality law and made the workplace fairer for all.

We are proud of our women members who made a stand for equal rights. This blog highlights our high profile legal successes over the past year:

  • Olwen Renowden was a successful economist working for the Office for National Statistics. She was twice rejected for promotion despite being well qualified for the roles. The employment tribunal found that ‘the culture of the respondent is one where advantage and favouritism to males is not recognised as potentially discriminatory’ and held that Olwen had been subjected to direct and indirect sex discrimination.
  • Lizzie Walmlsley won her tribunal after speaking out about sexual harassment. Lizzie worked for the Big Lottery Fund when she tweeted about the scandal of sexual harassment in a previous job and did an anonymous interview for The Times. She was then criticised by her manager and reduced to tears in a meeting. The employment tribunal held that she had been subjected to unlawful victimisation by the employer and awarded damages for injury to feelings.
  • Niki Savvides was subjected to pregnancy discrimination when the British Museum dismissed her. Niki had been working on a project to train and develop archaeologists in Iraq. Towards the end of her fixed term contract she told her managers she was pregnant. The Museum decided to change the emphasis of the role and said Niki could apply when it was advertised externally. Niki applied, but did not get the job because she was unable to attend the interview as she was off sick with pregnancy complications. The tribunal found she had been unfairly dismissed and upheld her claim of pregnancy discrimination.
  • Sarah Morris had to resign from her job with the Prison Service when they refused her application to work part time after returning from maternity leave. Sarah won damages after settling her tribunal case of indirect sex discrimination and disability discrimination.
  • Ann Downie was awarded over £52,000 in damages for her sex discrimination claim. Ann was a senior HR manager and worked part time due to child care responsibilities. She was dismissed when the company decided they needed a full time HR manager instead. The tribunal found that she had been unfairly dismissed and subjected to indirect sex discrimination and they ordered reinstatement and compensation.
  • Amy Arnold won her case of sex discrimination and victimisation. She had raised a grievance over equal pay, which was largely upheld and she got a significant pay increase. Amy then applied for promotion, but was rejected and a man was appointed instead of her. The tribunal found the man was less experienced and qualified than she was and held she had been discriminated against on the grounds of her sex.

Behind these reported cases are many more unsung heroes who have fought discrimination in the workplace and won!

Prospect was pleased to represent members in these cases and we are committed to challenging discrimination whenever it occurs.

As Olwen Renowden said about her case: “There could have been five women (or more) on this claim, but only I was a member of a trade union, and had the support to make it possible”.

Marion Scovell

Marion Scovell


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