A SOUTHEND businessman who sacked his pregnant wife after she confronted him over a bill for X-rated adult films has been ordered to pay her £15,000 compensation.

Nicole Ramsey, 33, who at the time was 31-weeks pregnant with the couple’s fourth child, was fired after she discovered a receipt for three explicit online adult videos, totalling £539.07 and purchased within a 23-hour period, billed to her then-husband Stephen Ramsey.

In a furious response to being confronted over the X-rated material, Mr Ramsey sacked his wife, stole her keys and cut off her car insurance and phone bill – all before withholding pay slips needed to prove her Universal Credit viability.

A video-link hearing in east London found Mr Ramsey guilty of direct marriage discrimination and ordered to pay Nicole £15,568.00.

Nicole began working for her husband, who owns Root2Shoot Executive Lawn Care, as an administrative manager in 2015.

She was unceremoniously told she was no longer required at the business via text message on September 19, 2019, just 24 hours after confronting her husband over the pornography bill.

She woke up to woke up to text messages full of abuse, the tribunal heard.

In one message, Mr. Ramsay said: “You are not needed, not like you did anything anyway. Why are you still working. I don’t want you having anything to do with it anymore. I would rather fold my business than give you anything from them. After everything you have done over the past couple of years you don’t deserve anything and if you try I will make sure I have nothing to give you.”

Over the following days Nicole’s fuel card, car insurance and phone were all cut off.

In October 2019, Nicole initiated divorce proceedings. The emotional worry and intimidation Nicole faced had caused her worry which at such a late stage in her pregnancy caused a bleed brought on by stress, the tribunal heard.

Pay slips which were crucial in order for her to claim Universal Credit to be able to support herself were also withheld from her for months.

The couple's fourth child, a daughter, was born in November 2019 and she started her maternity leave.

The tribunal heard she did not return to work after the end of her maternity leave and started a new job elsewhere as a financial consultant in November 2020.

Mr Ramsay continued to pay her during her maternity leave but reduced her monthly salary from £1,500 to £1,250.

Mrs Ramsay was awarded £10,568 for unauthorised deductions from wages and £5,000 in compensation for 'injury to feelings' in respect of her direct marriage discrimination claim.