Baronet Sir Benjamin Slade loses two-year battle against paying £26,000 to two ...

Baronet Sir Benjamin Slade loses two-year battle against paying £26,000 to two ...
Baronet Sir Benjamin Slade loses two-year battle against paying £26,000 to two ...

An aristocrat has been branded 'malicious and cynical' by a senior judge after he lost a two year legal battle to avoid paying £26,000 compensation to two female employees he discriminated against because they were pregnant.

Sir Benjamin Slade first lost his case against Melissa Biggs and Roxanne Stewart in 2019 after a tribunal found he carried out 'one of the most egregious acts of discrimination possible'.

The 'nasty' baronet, who withheld their maternity pay and accused them of timing their pregnancies to 'spite' him, was then ordered to pay £179,500 compensation to the women.

However, he has since failed to pay a £26,500 'uplift' fee from the sum, which the tribunal imposed due to his behaviour being so exceptional, and has dragged out the legal battle for another two years by launching an appeal.

The figure was 'too high', moaned the multi-millionaire and ex-stockbroker who is a descendant of Alfred the Great.

But now, a High Court judge has rejected the 75-year-old's appeal and accused him of 'malice' in not following employment practices laid down by the workplace rules organisation Acas.

Sir Benjamin Slade, pictured at his home in Somerset, was ordered to pay out £150,000 to two female former employees after they won a sexual discrimination case against him

Sir Benjamin Slade, pictured at his home in Somerset, was ordered to pay out £150,000 to two female former employees after they won a sexual discrimination case against him

Melissa Biggs, pictured above with 18-month-old daughter Maisie, had her maternity pay withheld after Sir Benjamin claimed she had times her pregnancy to 'spite' him

Melissa Biggs, pictured above with 18-month-old daughter Maisie, had her maternity pay withheld after Sir Benjamin claimed she had times her pregnancy to 'spite' him

Roxanne Stewart, pictured with daughter Berrie, fell pregnant at a similar time to Mrs Briggs and was not paid any maternity pay

Roxanne Stewart, pictured with daughter Berrie, fell pregnant at a similar time to Mrs Briggs and was not paid any maternity pay 

Mr Justice Griffiths said his arguments were 'unconvincing', saying the 'uplift' was totally justified.

'The failure to comply with either the letter or the essence of the ACAS Codes appears, from the factual findings of the (tribunal) which I have summarised, to have been exceptionally cynical and, indeed, malicious', he said.

Sir Benjamin, also described as 'arrogant and misogynistic', previously advertised for a young 'breeder' wife who could give him two sons and was 'castle trained' to run his two estates.

One of his estates, Maunsel House - a 17-bedroom 13th century manor house in 1,300 acres of land in the West Country - was put on the market for £30 million this year.

His other country property, 17th century Woodlands Castle in Taunton, Somerset, was at the centre of his long-running legal battle with Mrs Biggs and Ms Stewart.

In July this year, he reportedly got engaged to Sahara Sunday Spain, daughter of Johnny Spain, a member of the Black Panthers who was jailed for murder. 

Woodlands Castle, a 17th century country house near Taunton, Somerset, which Sir Benjamin owns and hires out for functions. Mrs Biggs and Ms Stewart had both worked there as event planners up until their pregnancies

Woodlands Castle, a 17th century country house near Taunton, Somerset, which Sir Benjamin owns and hires out for functions. Mrs Biggs and Ms Stewart had both worked there as event planners up until their pregnancies 

In 2017, Mrs Biggs and Ms Stewart, both aged 28 and event planners at leafy Woodlands Castle, fell pregnant.

A tribunal heard as a result of Sir Benjamin's mistreatment, both had premature births due to the stress he put them under.

Mrs Biggs did not receive maternity pay in November 2017 and Ms Stewart, who had worked for Sir Benjamin at Woodlands straight from school, was not paid.

When Ms Stewart complained, Sir Benjamin called maternity pay 'fucking entitlements' and also told another at Woodlands the pair timed their pregnancies to 'spite him'.

He threatened to report them to the police for theft, maliciously blamed their premature births on their smoking and drinking before pregnancy, and described Mrs Biggs' premature birth as 'dropping' her baby.

Both women were driven out of the business, with Ms Stewart fired two days

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