Father wins payout from babysitting company for sex discrimination

Father-of-three civil servant who applied to be a nanny to supplement his £50,000-a-year income wins £1,500 payout from babysitting company after he was rejected from the job for being a man

  • Daniel Wright was looking for second job to supplement his civil service work
  • He answered advert for babysitter firm Pottiebee looking only for ‘mothers’
  • Told tribunal he assumed target audience was mothers but he could still apply 
  • But he was accused of lying about his identity and was rejected from the position
  • Watford Employment Tribunal heard Pottiebee were ‘exacerbating the claim that fathers are incompetent parents’
  • Mr Wright won the sex discrimination case and was awarded £1,500

A father-of-three has won £1,500 in compensation from a babysitting company after he was rejected from a job for being a man.

Daniel Wright applied to work as a part-time babysitter after seeing an advert on Facebook, but was turned down because he was not a mother.

Bosses at Pottiebee posted the ad on social media asking only for ‘mothers’ who could possibly earn up to £150 per day, but Mr Wright assumed they meant ‘parents’.

But when he filled in an application and sent a photo ID showing his gender, he was accused of lying about his identity and was rejected from the position.

Daniel Wright was awarded £1,500 for sex discrimination after babysitting firm Pottiebee rejected his application for a position because he is a man

He was told the company was only hiring women and would not consider an application by a man.

Mr Wright took the app start-up – that boasts it can offer ‘childcare anytime, anywhere under 10 minutes’ – to employment tribunal and was awarded £1,500 for sex discrimination, including £200 in lost income.

At being told he could not apply due to his gender, Mr Wright said: ‘This has really upset me because it is simply exacerbating the claim in certain circles that fathers are incompetent parents and unable to care for children.

‘It’s telling me that my experience counts for nothing simply because of my gender and that I cannot be trusted to care for children. It is very distressing to be dismissed in this way because of my gender.’

The father-of-three had been looking for a second job to supplement his civil service income when he came across the company’s advert on Facebook that was asking only for ‘mothers’ to apply. Pictured: One of Pottiebee’s adverts

Mr Wright works as a policy adviser in the Department of Education for the last four years, earning a salary of around £50,000 a year.

But he claimed below inflation pay rises for government workers and an impending third child meant he was forced to try and get a part-time job to supplement his income.

His wife’s job as a teacher was described as ‘peripatetic’ and she was currently looking after their new baby on maternity leave.

He had been looking for second incomes and spotted an advert for Pottiebee on Facebook last March as he was scrolling, he told the virtual hearing.

But when he filled in an application and sent a photo ID showing his gender, he was accused of lying about his identity and was rejected from the position. Following the rejection he took the case to an employment tribunal

Watford Employment Tribunal heard that Mr Wright had done occasional paid babysitting for friends at ‘mates rates’.

Pottiebee has been registered at Companies House since February 2018 and is based in London, with directors listed in the UK, Romania, India and the Czech Republic.

The app start-up states on its social media that ‘our vision is to elevate and reinvent the normal structures of upbringing of kids, by leveraging technology’.

When Mr Wright saw the advert, he said did not think that ‘in this day and age’ the company meant fathers could not apply and assumed that the bulk of the target audience was mothers and that was why the advert was set out in that way.

Only the next day, when he was told that he could not apply, did he realise that ‘they were engaging in something that appeared to be wrong’.

Judge Bloch QC of Watford Employment Tribunal added: ‘It [the advert] was utterly ill-informed in the modern day so that the slight was more likely to be a result of ignorance than intentional harm’

Mr Wright said he assumed the wording of the advert was similar to slogans such as ‘why Mums go to Iceland’ or ‘Yorkie: It’s not for girls’ – and did not actually bar men.

As a result he clicked ‘yes’ on the online application when asked if he was a mother as he believed it actually meant ‘parent’.

After being told he could not apply for the job when he called the firm, Mr Wright was sent an email accusing him of lying about his identity.

The e-mail from the company said: ‘Hi there, We just wanted to tell you that we only allow mothers to become sitter mums on Pottiebee at this instance.

‘We have clearly stated it in the App. The fact that you lied to us about your identity will leave us with no choice but to eliminate you from the platform with immediate effect.

‘Please be aware that lying about your identity is a serious punishable [sic] & will not be tolerated. This decision is final and cannot be changed. Team Bottiebee [sic].’

Employment Judge Selwyn Bloch QC said the advert asking for only mothers to apply is still active on social media.

In his ruling published today that found in favour of Mr Wright, he said: ‘A large part of his identity is tied up in looking after his children and he is also involved with the Air Cadets.

‘To be told that he could not do this job because of his gender was goring.

‘He sees himself as a ‘hands-on’ father who would have been very good at doing this sort of work. He said that when he is not working he does 90 per cent of the childcare in the house.

‘On the one hand, I accept the claimant’s evidence that he was hurt by his treatment and in particular what followed the day after he had seen the advert.

‘I can see that in his position he regarded this as an under-valuation of a father’s role in childcare which was hurtful given his own ‘hands-on’ position in this regard.

‘I would add that even at the date of the hearing, the advert has not yet been changed by the respondent.’

His wife, who is a peripatetic teacher, gave birth to their third child last June, the court heard.

Mr Wright had not been able to find other part-time work to mitigate not being considered for this babysitting role, particularly during the pandemic, the hearing was told.

Judge Bloch QC added: ‘It [the advert] was utterly ill-informed in the modern day so that the slight was more likely to be a result of ignorance than intentional harm.’

He was awarded £1,300 for injury to feelings and a further £200 for loss of earnings.

MailOnline have approached Pottiebee for a comment. 

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