Mum treated unfairly owed thousands

Ann-Marie Wilburn, from Scholes, who was treated unfairly by her former employees Jumpin Jaks, with son Joel Fishwick
Ann-Marie Wilburn, from Scholes, who was treated unfairly by her former employees Jumpin Jaks, with son Joel Fishwick

A WIGAN mum who won a legal battle for being unfairly treated at work while pregnant says she is still owed thousands of pounds.

During an employment tribunal last October, Ann-Marie Wilburn, of Scholes, was successful in her claims that her bosses at Jumpin Jaks, which was then owned by Mertle Entertainment Ltd, were guilty of pregnancy-related and sexual discrimination.

The hearing also agreed that the firm unlawfully deducted her wages and she was constructively unfairly dismissed.

As a result, Mertle Entertainment was ordered to pay £15,000 compensation, plus money outstanding for holiday pay and her two weeks notice period.

But despite the case ruling in her favour, the 26-year-old, who announced to her bosses that she was pregnant in November 2011, is yet to receive her pay-out, as the bar is no longer owned by Mertle Entertainments.

She said that the payout is now the responsibility of the bar’s manager.

Ann-Marie, who worked at the Jumpin Jaks bar, in King Street, for two years, said: “First of all I was offered a promotion to bar manager and I accepted.

“Then I discovered I was pregnant and when I told my manager, he informed the director, saying ‘we have got a problem.’

“They then brought in a male manager to replace me, introducing me as just another member of staff.

“They then cut my hours from 30 a week to 12 and when I said that was against my contract, they said it didn’t matter.

“I was devastated. I was 26 weeks pregnant and was being ignored constantly at work.

“So I had to leave, as I had to make sure I would get my maternity allowance.”

Ann-Marie claims that there had been an issue with National Insurance payments not going though, resulting in her being unable to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.

She took Mertle Entertainment Ltd to an employment tribunal in Manchester last October, where a judge ruled in her favour.

The hearing cited Mertle Entertainment Ltd as the first respondent and Darren Lee, manager of Jumpin Jaks, as the second respondent.

The mother-of-one said: “The judge said I was severely discriminated against and I was awarded compensation, but I have not yet received anything. I am now in the process of taking the case to court as Mertle Entertainment shut down and transferred funds to a different name – Black Cat Bars. As a result, the responsibility goes to the manager but he is refusing to pay money that is owed me. I have sent two letters and my next step is to set up a County Court Judgement (CCJ).

“I feel wronged as they are taking money away from my one-year-old son, Joel, as I want to use those funds to provide for him.”

Despite several attempts to contact the manager of Wigan’s Jumpin Jaks, which has a registered address belonging to Ultrviolet Leisure according to its website, no-one was available to comment.