Mother-of-two scientist wins £23,000 payout after losing her job while she was on maternity leave | Daily Mail Online

by pregnancy journalist

Mother-of-two scientist, 38, wins £23,000 payout after losing her job while she was on maternity leave looking after her premature daughter

A scientist has won £23,000 in damages after she was demoted by a government-backed body after having a premature baby. 

Dr Katie Lidster, 38, had worked for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for seven years when she went on maternity leave to have her second child Daisy.

The mother-of-two, who had been based in Devon but often attended overseas conferences and commuted into London once a week, had to undergo a caesarean section two months before the due date.

Daisy came out weighing just 2lb 11oz and had to be fed through a tube during a 53-day stay in neonatal care following her arrival.  

Dr Lidster, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but was having counselling and had been feeling positive again, got in touch with her employer seven months after the C-section to discuss her return, The Mirror reports.

But her line manager told her it would not be appropriate to return to her position and was offered a job with fewer responsibilities for four days a week. 

Dr Katie Lidster, 38, had worked for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for seven years when she went on maternity leave to have her second child Daisy

Dr Lidster, who has a PhD in neuroimmunology from Queen Mary University of London, resigned in December, and UKRI (headquarters pictured) admitted culpability at a Bristol employment tribunal and was ordered to pay £23,000 plus interest in damages

She was also told that her former job did not exist anymore, but five weeks later she found a nearly identical role being advertised internally. 

A colleague had sent her the advert, and the job was given to the person who had been doing Dr Lidster’s maternity cover.

The mother-of-two, who had been based in Devon but often attended overseas conferences and commuted into London once a week, had to undergo a caesarean section two months before the due date

Dr Lidster said: ‘They had added one word to the job description and one responsibility, which I had been doing anyway.’

Dr Lidster, who has a PhD in neuroimmunology from Queen Mary University of London, resigned in December, and UKRI admitted culpability at a Bristol employment tribunal and was ordered to pay £23,000 plus interest in damages. 

She had been represented by her husband, Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern, as they could not afford to pay for a barrister. 

Dr Lidster, who now works for university group GW4, said: ‘I can now focus on spending quality time with my family, especially my girls and start to refocus my career.

‘At the time I didn’t realise how long the whole process would take. They had taken my career away from me so I had no option but to fight for justice.’

Following reports of her case, Dr Lidster tweeted: ‘When people ask how I battled for 18 months… it was this. My inner voice telling me to keep going. And after the worse thing had happened to me, I let go of fear.’

Mother-of-two scientist wins £23,000 payout after losing her job while she was on maternity leave

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