A woman was told to remove a reference to her daughter from her CV to improve her chances of finding a job in the City, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.
Diane Winship, 35, was told during a Jobcentre interview that her 16-month-old daughter Gabriella was ruining her employment chances.
Ms Winship was sacked as a £70,000-a-year financial controller with the US fund management firm Goldenberg, Hehmeyer & Co in September last year. In June she wrote to six big banks at Canary Wharf, east London, looking for temporary work. Only three replied, with rejections. She booked an interview to get a jobseeker's allowance after her attempts to find work failed. She was suffering stress, panic attacks and plunging confidence. Money was running out and her marriage was under strain.
Ms Winship told the tribunal in central London: "They [the Jobcentre] told me something that shocked me, which I still cannot get over. I was to delete the line that I had a child on my CV as it could be a cause of not getting work. This really upset me. I am so proud of my daughter and yet she could be stopping me from getting work so I have now deleted her existence from my CV."
Last month Ms Winship began receiving a £56 a week jobseeker's allowance which will continue until January.
Ms Winship, from the Isle of Dogs, east London, is alleging sex discrimination and unfair dismissal against Goldenberg, Hehmeyer, which denies her claim.
She went on maternity leave in April last year and gave birth two weeks later. Ms Winship claims that three months later her boss, Ralph Goldenberg, demanded that she work full time on her return - despite a promise that she could work part time - and gave her a two-week deadline to decide her future.
But in August, according to Ms Winship, the company told her that her complaints to colleagues about the alleged broken promise were damaging the company.
While on maternity leave the firm continued to send work to her home but she began to slip into depression and was unable to complete it.
She was told that she would face disciplinary charges and was sacked in September, the tribunal was told.
Mr Goldenberg, who co-founded the company in 1984, told the tribunal that there was never any agreement for Ms Winship to return to work on a permanent part-time basis.
Insisting that the complaint had sprung from a "miscommunication", he said: "If I had been inclined to agree to that, which I very much doubt, I would have discussed it with the co-chief financial officers before agreeing anything."
He told the tribunal that there was no prospect that she could return to work permanently for two to three days a week, as she claimed, because her post was a full-time job, although he had said informally that she might be able to work part time for a while.
Ms Winship responded "very aggressively" when the firm began asking her about her return to work, Mr Goldenberg said. She was convinced he was trying to back out of something and implied he was lying before declaring he was trying to make her choose "between her job and her baby".
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