Rashid v. Asian Community Care Services Ltd, Court of Appeal - United Kingdom Employment Appeal Tribunal, November 16, 2000,  EAT 480_99_1611
Copyright 2000Appeal No. EAT/480/99 EMPLOYMENT APPEAL TRIBUNAL58 VICTORIA EMBANKMENT, LONDON EC4Y 0DS At the Tribunal On 16 November 2000 BeforeTHE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE BELLMR K EDMONDSON JPMISS C HOLROYD MRS M RASHID APPELLANT ASIAN COMMUNITY CARE SERVICES LTD RESPONDENTS Transcript of Proceedings JUDGMENT EAT/480/99 APPEARANCES EAT/480/99- 5 - MR JUSTICE BELL: This is an appeal by the applicant Mrs Mehjabeen Rashid against the decision of the Employment Tribunal held at London (North) on 1st and 2nd February 1999. The decision was sent to the parties and entered in the Register on 8th February 1999. The decision was to the effect that the complaint of the applicant, now appellant, of sex discrimination failed. 1. There is no real issue about the circumstances of the appellant's employment by the respondent. The real issue is about when and in what circumstances her employment ended. 2. The facts found by the Employment Tribunal and its conclusions are set out with admirable clarity in its extended reasons for its decision. [Paragraph 2] The respondent is a small voluntary organisation providing care and other services to elderly and disabled Asian people. It depends upon short-term contract funding from local authorities, health authorities and private trusts. The tribunal accepted the evidence Mr M Jeewa, its director, that staff were employed upon short-term temporary contracts because of the uncertainty of renewal of funding. [Paragraph 3] Mrs Rashid, who must have been then aged about 30, commenced employment as a Community Care Assistant on 17th March 1997. She was given a contract dated 21st March 1997 expressing her position as temporary for a period of up to three months commencing week 17th March 1997. The contract was expressed to be terminable by one week's notice from either side. [Paragraph 4] The tribunal heard evidence that the respondent was a small organisation and that its paperwork was not always up to date. When the first three month contract expired on 16th June 1997 it was not immediately replaced with a new written contract. Mrs Rashid was promoted to the position of temporary part-time Co-ordinator working on the Elders Project with effect from 30th June 1997. She was given another temporary contract for that post. The document was undated but stated that the position was temporary and part-time for a period of up to three months commencing on 30th June 1997. Mrs Rashid worked on when the three month temporary contract expired on 29th September 1997, although no written contract of employment was issued. [Paragraph 5] In June or July 1997 Mrs Rashid had discovered that she was pregnant. She had a good relationship with Mr Jeewa, and her account was that she had a meeting with him in November 1997 to tell him that she was pregnant and to make arrangements for maternity leave. There was a conflict of evidence because Mr Jeewa said that no such meeting took place. There was no corroborative evidence one way or another and the tribunal found on the balance of probabilities that Mrs Rashid had not proved that a meeting took place in November 1997 as she said. Mr Jeewa went to Burma on 11th November and was away for the rest of the year. [Paragraph 6] On 20th January 1998 Mrs Rashid presented a written complaint about a fellow employee, but that does not appear to have played any part in what happened thereafter. [Paragraph 7] By a letter dated 26th January 1998 from Mrs Rashid to Mr Jeewa, Mrs Rashid said: ``I write to inform you of my intention to leave for maternity, my last day in service being Wednesday 11 February 1998.It is my intention to return to work if you would so kindly accept me back. I would estimate my time off to be approximately six months if this is suitable to you.'' [Paragraph 8] By a letter which the tribunal described as erroneously dated 4th January but intended to be dated 4th February 1998, Mrs Rashid again wrote to the respondent. She said: ``I intend to come back to work after maternity leave in October 1998 upon verbal agreement with Mr Jeewa. I would like this agreement in writing within the next five days.'' [Paragraph 9] Mr Jeewa told the tribunal that there had been no verbal agreement and that he had indicated to Mrs Rashid that if subsequent vacancies arose within the respondent she was welcome to apply for them. [Paragraph 10] Mrs Rashid's last day of service with the respondent was 11th February 1998...
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