The claimant in Nicholson v Hazel House Nursing Home Ltd, who was pregnant, asked for her nursing home shifts to be switched from morning to afternoon. Her employer did this but later, without consulting her, reduced her shifts from five to three a week. The consequential reduction in pay meant that she only qualified for maternity allowance, not statutory maternity pay.
The claimant's grievance about this and other matters was rejected. Eventually she resigned. Later she appealed against the grievance decision but did not respond to her employer's request for further information and the appeal was not considered.
Her tribunal claim that the reduction in shifts was pregnancy discrimination was rejected because it was out of time. Her constructive dismissal claim also failed, despite the Tribunal acknowledging that the employer's procedure "might have been better" – mistakes included appointing a manager to investigate who had been involved in the events she was complaining about.
The EAT allowed the appeal and, unusually, substituted a finding that she had been constructively unfairly dismissed. The reduction in shifts was pregnancy discrimination and the claimant had resigned after the employer wrongly rejected her "very significant" grievance. There was a clear breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence (especially given that there was also a history of underpayment).
It was irrelevant that she had not pursued an appeal and that she had not mentioned the grievance outcome in her resignation letter.