Daily Express

Employee sues after being told not to breastfeed in the office

- By Paul Keogh

AN accountant who alleged she was told it would be “inappropri­ate” to breastfeed her baby in the office is suing her former bosses for discrimina­tion.

Helen Ballerino insisted the incident, while she was working occasional days during maternity leave, was among related issues she faced from The Racecourse Associatio­n at Ascot, Berkshire, resulting in her being made redundant.

The 38-year-old’s maternity discrimina­tion and unfair dismissal claim was dismissed in May 2022 but she has taken her fight to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The original hearing was told Ms Ballerino worked at The RCA from August 2018 until she was dismissed the following July. She was pregnant when she took the job and went on maternity leave in December 2018 but planned to do several “keeping in touch” days in the office.

Ms Ballerino stated she agreed with bosses that on the days she went into work she could take her baby son and feed him. However, she complained that, in a later conversati­on with her line manager, she was told that it would be “inappropri­ate” for her to breastfeed in the office.

The RCA denied this and claimed it meant that it would be inappropri­ate to work in the office while caring for a baby.

Ms Ballerino, who had mostly worked from home, was made redundant from her part-time job when a new wider role was created. She was invited to apply – but claimed she was advised that it might not be suitable for her. Judge Laurie Anstis, in dismissing her complaints two years ago, accepted her employer’s account that the objection was not to breastfeed­ing but to having an employee working and caring for a baby.

Ms Ballerino also said the new job was not created as part of a “genuine business decision” but as an attempt to get rid of her.The judge also rejected this.

At the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London last week, Ms Ballerino’s barrister Robin Pickard argued that there had been a failure to apply the law correctly with regards to “whether there was a genuine redundancy”. The RCA argued the original decision was correct.

Mrs Justice Eady reserved her decision until a later date.

 ?? ?? Appeal..Helen Ballerino
Appeal..Helen Ballerino

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