Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tribunal Told Boss Was 'Gobsmacked' by Allegations; Grieving Mum Claims Firm Stopped Her from Going to Midwife

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tribunal Told Boss Was 'Gobsmacked' by Allegations; Grieving Mum Claims Firm Stopped Her from Going to Midwife

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS KNIGHT Reporter chris.knight@trinitymirror.com @C_M_Knight

THE boss of a grieving mum who claims she was denied immediate medical help before her stillbirth tragedy admits he was "gobsmacked" by her allegations against her employers.

Expectant mum Gemma Race, from Walker, Newcastle, grew concerned she had not felt her baby kick on the morning of November 2, 2017.

Mrs Race - who was seven months pregnant - asked her supervisor at the North Shields office of Collingwood Business Solutions Ltd for permission to leave and see the midwife.

But she claims she was told to wait until her lunch hour to leave for the appointment. Later that day, she and husband Andy were rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle to be told the devastating news their unborn daughter had died.

Fearne Race was born two days later at the same hospital after 25 weeks, weighing only 720 grams. The second day of the employment tribunal was held at North Shields County Court on Thursday, and heard evidence from Mrs Race's work colleagues.

Mrs Race claims her contract was breached by discrimination against her sciatica disability, her pregnancy and her sex, leading to her unfair dismissal.

The expectant mum's first day back following maternity leave for son Bobby was on November 1, 2017. Steve Harris, head of claims at the office, held an "informal" meeting with her that afternoon after being told Mrs Race had told a colleague she was upset.

The customer service employee says she was intended to shadow a colleague on her first day back, but staffing issues led to her being asked to take on an independent task.

The court heard on Wednesday evidence from Mrs Race which suggested the meeting had been a chastisement which had added to her long-standing anxiety. But Mr Harris insisted that was not the case, and the expectant mum had left his office visibly happier. …

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