Tesco worker wins £50k after being 'held hostage' at work by pregnant boss

10 November 2021, 20:46 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 20:50

Ms Francis is said to have “falsely imprisoned” Mr King and the Aylesbury Tesco’s staff room
Ms Francis is said to have “falsely imprisoned” Mr King and the Aylesbury Tesco’s staff room. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A 6ft Tesco worker has received £50,000 from the supermarket giant after being “held hostage” at work by his 5ft4 pregnant boss.

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Toby King claimed Tesco supervisors did not take his complaints about his boss, Jo Francis, seriously claiming they ridiculed him stating "a big man" could not be intimidated by a "little pregnant woman".

Ms Francis is said to have "falsely imprisoned" Mr King in the Aylesbury Tesco's staff room by putting "her foot against the door" during a discussion about working extra hours.

CCTV photographs of the incident showed Mr King becoming "increasingly anxious and borderline desperate to get out of the room".

The tribunal heard how Mr King suffered from PTSD following an incident whilst working for the prison service where he was "held hostage".

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Ms Francis is said to have known about the medical condition prior to the incident.

At a later meeting held with a different supervisor, Mr King’s claims were "dismissed" with the manager claiming a "pregnant woman would not have behaved that way".

The incident caused Mr King to suffer from a relapse leaving him unable to go outside "without crying".

His GP signed him off as "unfit to work" and despite providing the supermarket giant with his sick note, Mr King was dismissed a month later for unauthorised absences.

Employment tribunal Judge Judith George ruled that Mr King had experienced sex discrimination and awarded him a total of £47,690.61, made up of more than £26,000 for injury to feelings plus around £10,000 in lost earnings.

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Judge George stated that managers were "influenced" by "relative size" as Mr King was a 6ft man and Ms Francis a small pregnant woman.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "We are disappointed by this decision. Any form of discrimination is completely unacceptable and ensuring an inclusive workplace for colleagues is our number one priority."