Maternity Discrimination Case at Ascot Racecourse: Accountant Sues for Unfair Treatment
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Maternity Discrimination Case at Ascot Racecourse: Accountant Sues for Unfair Treatment

Accountant Claims Maternity Discrimination at Ascot Racecourse

A 38-year-old accountant, Helen Ballerino, is suing her former employers, The Racecourse Association Limited, for alleged maternity discrimination and unfair dismissal. Ballerino, who worked for a horse-racing trade body based at the prestigious Ascot Racecourse, claims she was told it would be “inappropriate” for her to breastfeed her baby in the office during her occasional “keeping in touch” days while on maternity leave.

According to the original tribunal ruling, Ballerino began her role at The Racecourse Association in August 2018 and was there until her dismissal the following July. While on maternity leave in 2019, she planned to work several days in the office and had agreed with her superiors that she could bring and care for her baby son during those times. However, Ballerino says she was later informed by her line manager that it would be “inappropriate” for her to breastfeed in the office.

The Racecourse Association denied Ballerino’s account, claiming the objection was not to breastfeeding, but to Ballerino working and caring for her baby simultaneously. In July 2019, Ballerino’s part-time role was made redundant, and she was advised the new full-time, office-based position might not be suitable for her.

Ballerino sued for maternity discrimination and unfair dismissal, but her claims were dismissed by the Employment Tribunal in May 2022. She is now fighting the decision at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London, arguing the tribunal failed to properly assess whether the redundancy was genuine and not related to her maternity.

The case highlights the ongoing challenges working mothers can face, particularly in traditional industries like horse racing. Ascot Racecourse and the Royal Ascot 2023 event continue to draw significant crowds, with the royal ascot dress code and royal ascot results remaining a focus for attendees and enthusiasts.

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