Unfair dismissal claim at BTis lost

A FORMER British Telecom employee who claimed she was unfairly dismissed and sexually discriminated against has lost her fight.Franca Okoye, of Lotus Close, Ipswich, was based at Martlesham's Adastral Park until June last year, but left the company under a cloud.

A FORMER British Telecom worker who claimed she was unfairly dismissed and sexually discriminated against has lost her fight.

Franca Okoye, of Lotus Close, Ipswich, was based at Martlesham's Adastral Park until June last year, but left the company under a cloud.

The 35-year-old claimed she was moved from "pillar to post" after returning to work in September 2001 following a spell of maternity leave.

She told an employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds she had previously been seen as a valued member of staff who had recently received a big pay rise.


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But after her return to work, the mother-of-four said she was expected to learn new skills as she was moved around between various jobs. This caused her to develop stress and a doctor eventually signed her off work for six months, she said.

She returned in July 2002 but was still unable to take up her old job, which she had held before her maternity leave.

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She eventually left in June 2003 because of deteriorating health.

Bosses at British Telecom denied sacking Mrs Okoye because she became pregnant, but admitted they could have handled her situation better.

Hilary Harding, representing the company at the tribunal, said: "It has been accepted by BT that on her return to work we failed to immediately find Mrs Okoye a suitable alternative role, but we dispute the rest of the case.

"Mrs Okoye failed to mention the sexist comments when she wrote to her union representative about her concerns. She also did not mention the comments when writing to BT or when she wrote with her first stage grievance letter. We would say this is because the comments were not made."

The tribunal heard the representations during January and has today ruled against Mrs Okoye.

The panel of three unanimously found there was no case to answer for unfair dismissal or sex discrimination.

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