B&Q boss moaned pregnant mum with same illness as Kate Middleton was 'always sick'

A B&Q manager who suffered extreme morning sickness while pregnant has won a discrimination case after her boss said “she is always sick”.

Frankie Kite suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum – the same condition endured by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, during her pregnancies.

An employment tribunal heard how Ms Kite “frustrated” newly-appointed unit manager Adrian Barnett, who complained about her absences.

The hearing was also told how he refused her requests not to work late shifts, even though this was when her symptoms worsened.

Ms Kite, who worked at B&Q in Witney, Oxfordshire, as a trading manager, is now in line for compensation after successfully suing for unlawful pregnancy and maternity discrimination and unfair dismissal.

B&Q boss moaned pregnant mum with same illness as Kate Middleton was 'always sick'
© Ian Cooper/North Wales Live Frankie had worked as a trading manager

An employment tribunal in Reading, Berkshire, heard Ms Kite was “poised for a move to a more senior position” in 2018.

At that time, she became pregnant with her daughter and began suffering severely from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

But her boss Mr Barnett didn’t encourage her to apply for a senior position because he didn’t think she was suitable due to her pregnancy.

B&Q boss moaned pregnant mum with same illness as Kate Middleton was 'always sick'
© PA Kate Middleton was also diagnosed with HG during all three of her pregnancies

One on occasion in August 2018, Ms Kite was vomiting at work and nauseous so asked Mr Barnett to leave.

He replied “what will you do differently at home rather than here?” and “made her uncomfortable” about asking to leave early.

She told the tribunal she also felt she had to work late shifts despite this being the time when she felt most sick.

Have you been treated unfairly by your boss? Let us know: mirror.money.saving@mirror.co.uk

Ms Kite said: “On numerous occasions during August and September 2018, I asked Adrian if I could do minimal late shifts due to my symptoms worsening in the afternoons and evenings.

“This is something I had been asking for since my return to work meeting on June 24, 2018.

“Despite my requests, during the first week of September 2018 I was required to undertake three late shifts, with Adrian doing none.

“On September 8, 2018, Adrian was on the early shift and I was on the late shift. Throughout the day, I was struggling with severe nausea and sickness.

“When I told Adrian about this, he was unsympathetic and dismissed my comments by saying ‘oh are you?’”

Mr Barnett granted Ms Kite her request to not work late shifts when she got a doctor’s note.

She raised a grievance, however an investigation that the tribunal heard was “inadequate” concluded: “I think we have supported [her pregnancy] in the best possible way”.

Judge Anstis said: “The impression we have formed from the evidence is that Mr Barnett saw her ongoing pregnancy-related illness as an impediment to his attempts to restore the store to good performance.”

He added: “Mr Barnett was impatient for the store to be brought to success, and gave little or no thought to the difficulties that Ms Kite may be having.

“Mr Barnett was aware of her pregnancy-related illness from the start of his time as unit manager, yet… there is nothing to suggest he ever made any accommodations or allowance for that until presented with the fit note.

“He treated her unfavourably because of her pregnancy related illness and absences.”

Ms Kite gave birth in December 2018 and in 2019 resigned then started her own business with a friend.

A hearing to determine compensation will be held at a later date.

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