AN agency which is part of the Get Bradford Working programme sacked an employee because she was pregnant, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Tribunal Judge John Robertson agreed Daniella Lewandowski had suffered “a year of hell” after she was unfairly dismissed by the Bradford District Apprenticeship Training Agency when her pregnancy came to light.

He awarded her a total of £25,000 in compensation.

The agency which has its offices in City Park, Bradford, is a joint venture between Bradford College and Bradford Council.

It describes itself as an organisation offering an “all round hassle free solution to hiring an apprentice by acting as a broker between employer and apprentice”.

Ms Lewandowski had joined the agency in 2015, initially in a lower role but later had been employed on a £33,000 a year fixed contract, the employment tribunal in Leeds was told.

She said she had been told her contract, due to end on March 31, 2016, would be extended for a year, but after her pregnancy came to light she was informed this would no longer happen.

She made legal claims against the agency for discrimination because of her pregnancy and for unfair dismissal.

The respondents, who denied she lost her job because of pregnancy, told the tribunal that she was dismissed because of redundancy, and that her fixed term contract had expired.

But Ms Lewandowski said that her contract had been verbally extended early in 2016 after she had been promoted to apprenticeship manager and that she had been awarded a pay increase.

She said she had spent five weeks “chasing” the written terms of her extended contract, which would have kept her in the job until March 2017 and that she was dismissed after announcing her pregnancy.

Ms Lewandowski accused the respondents of making her feel vulnerable and complained she had experienced a “year of hell”.

In his judgement, Judge Robertson said this claim was not an exaggeration.

She complained her contract had been terminated prematurely and said she had lost the trust and confidence of her employers, adding: “I loved my job – I was punished for being pregnant.”

The tribunal report also says that some of the respondents from the agency had given “unreliable” evidence.

The panel’s final judgement states: “We do find the dismissal was both substantially and procedurally unfair.

“Being dismissed and losing your job because you are pregnant is a serious act of discrimination.”

Judge Robertson concluded that Ms Lewandowski, who unfortunately had suffered a miscarriage but now has found other employment, had been treated unfairly by the respondents by way of dismissing her because of her pregnancy.

He awarded her £9,130, including interest, £15,600 for injury to feelings and £435 for loss of statutory rights.

At the time of her dismissal, the agency’s board included Andrew Welsh, Group CEO of Bradford College and Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, who is now the leader of Bradford Council but then was in charge of employment issues for the authority.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Bradford District Apprenticeship Training Agency said that it was sorry for the “unintended” distress caused to Ms Lewandowski.

He said: “We understand that this has been a very difficult case for the individual involved and are sorry for any distress caused, albeit unintended.

“We are now considering the tribunal judgment and we will look to learn lessons from it.”