A FORMER collections agent at Bournemouth loans company Amigo has spoken of her joy after they were found to have discriminated against her as a part-time working step-mum.

An employment tribunal at Southampton Magistrates' Court found in favour of two of Kate Horner's claims - under part-time workers' rights and sex discrimination - that she was mistreated in 2013-14.

Her two other claims relating to disability discrimination and unfair dismissal were rejected.

Judge Derek Reed said: "[Amigo] put themselves in the position where they couldn't carry out any accurate reports on her performance. She had been treated less favourably. She had child care responsibilities that meant she was working part-time. The vast majority of those providing child care are women. It must amount to indirect discrimination."

Speaking of her two dismissed claims, he added: "Once [Amigo] were aware they did make reasonable adjustments.

"It's her evidence that the final act of mistreatment was being informed by the respondent's intent to seek costs. They were relying on their legal rights. It cannot amount to mistreatment of her at all."

Mrs Horner, who resigned in April this year, said her position at the firm became untenable because no allowance was made for her to take less calls and focus on her allocated case list – the completion of which was a large factor on her pay.

The tribunal heard how the company – founded by James Benamor – had no strict guidelines in place for part-time workers and changed the system employees were paid by during Mrs Horner’s employment to the performance-rate of pay (PRP) – something Mrs Horner claims led to people leaving the company or resorting to drastic tactics to make clients pay up because they were earning less.

“Staff had been sacked for threatening customers,” she said. “It got to the end of the week and people would ramp it up. If staff had been trained properly then they wouldn’t have needed to treat customers that way."

Head of HR Nick Massey admitted the company had a "lean HR team" of only three to look after its 268 employees.

Mrs Horner was awarded £7,000 plus loss of earnings of £2,572.94.

Following the tribunal, she said: "I'm pleased that Amigo have been found to be in breach of the part-time workers' regulations and sex discrimination for a part-time working mother. I hope that in the future should they employ part-time staff they are more aware of their duty of care they owe to such employees."

An Amigo spokesperson added: "Amigo is proud of its fantastic achievements as one of Bournemouth's best employers and being named the 23rd best company to work for in The Sunday Times Top 100 and winning Employer of the Year at this year's European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards. We're disappointed with this outcome but we'll take learnings from the experience and continue to give our employees an incredible place to work."