New Mom Wins $255K Settlement After Being Denied Reduced Hours to Pick Up Her Child from Daycare

"How are moms meant to have careers and families? It's 2021 not 1971,” new mother Alice Thompson said 

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An English mother won over $250,000 in a settlement from her employer after they denied her request for reduced hours in order to pick up her daughter from daycare.

In an employment tribunal case, new mom Alice Thompson was awarded £185,000, which is roughly $255,947, a judge decided on Aug. 12.

The mother had asked her employers at real estate agency Manors if she could end her shift an hour early from her usual 9 am to 6 pm coverage to go get her daughter from daycare as well as a four-day workweek, she told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

Thompson claimed her request was never "seriously considered" and didn't receive a counteroffer, Thompson told the outlet. "If they needed me for the full hours, maybe eight 'til five instead of nine 'til six, that's something I could have worked around. But it was shut down, every avenue, not listened to, not considered. And I was left with no other option but to resign," she said.

Manors did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

"How are moms meant to have careers and families? It's 2021 not 1971," Thompson said on Woman's Hour.

The mom resigned as a result of her employer's lack of consideration, which is when she decided to pursue legal action.

"I've got a daughter and I didn't want her to experience the same treatment in 20, 30 years' time, when she's in the workplace," Thompson said on BBC Radio.

In the U.K., employees of at least 26 weeks have a right to make a flexible working request and get a decision back within three months. Employers have a right to refuse and/or negotiate if they can prove their employee's flexible working hours request will have a negative impact on the business' success.

"Here the claimant resented that flexible working appeared not to be considered properly - as in our finding it was not - and felt that this was an injustice because of her sex, which it was," the employment tribunal determined, leading to her payout for indirect discrimination.

The tribunal added, "Our conclusion is that the respondent has not shown that refusal of the proposed reduction in hours of work was proportionate to the real need of the business to maintain successful relations with."

The tribunal also sympathized with Thompson in the findings.

"Many new mothers find returning to work difficult, and we considered whether to discount any award for the risk that she would have abandoned the job on return because of separation difficulty, or discouragement commuting over an hour each way by public transport," judges wrote. "The claimant seemed to us determined, and has used a nursery while attempting to make her way as self-employed, so we have not made a discount, expecting that she would have worked on the reduced hours because of the difficulty finding other work and because she knew the team and the local market well."

Thompson's payout largely stemmed from "injury to feelings."

"Losing a job unexpectedly is always a cause of unhappiness, shock, and sometimes anger, as shown by the way many employees react to redundancy, even when there has been proper consultation, and even when it is never suggested their performance was not good enough," the tribunal stated. "Here the claimant resented that flexible working appeared not to be considered properly (as in our finding it was not), and felt that this was an injustice because of her sex, which it was."

The mother's indirect discrimination claim was accepted, but the courts ultimately denied her other claims of direct discrimination and harassment during pregnancy and maternity leave and unfair dismissal.

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Following Thompson's win, she told BBC Radio that although the process was costly and risky, she's received a lot of outreach from women in similar positions.

"There's a greater picture to trying to make some small change in the world for the better," she shared.

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