31/07/2014

Woman Sacked After Falling Pregnant

A bakery has been ordered to pay more than £20,000 to a former worker after an employment tribunal ruled that she had been sacked for being pregnant.

Nicola McNamee took the case against Melting Moments in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, after the was dismissed from her job less than a week after she told her employer she was expecting.

Ms McNamee, whose case was supported by the Equality Commission, started working at the bakery in February 2013. Just a few weeks later, she discovered she was pregnant and by April, the young mum had been dismissed from her job.

The 24-year-old had said she believed the job was long-term.

She said: "I was told it would take about six months to get me up to speed with the job. Around the end of March I found out I was pregnant and I spoke to one of the owners at the start of April and told her about it.
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"She suggested that I think about whether it was best for me to continue working or if I'd be better off leaving. I didn't want to leave, I was happy to work and I was devastated when I was dismissed a week later. I am glad the Tribunal has found in my favour and now I just want to get on with my life with my little daughter."

Melting Moments had said its decision to let Ms McNamee go was based on her conduct and performance, but the employment tribunal found she had been subjected to sex discrimination because of her pregnancy and had been unfairly dismissed. The bakery was ordered to pay £7,500 for injury to Ms McNamee's feelings and £15,788 compensation for loss of earnings.

Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission, said the laws governing pregnancy and maternity issues in the workplace were essential to protect the rights and support the needs of women.

He added: "As a society, we need to ensure that women who become pregnant don't lose their employment and that they can resume their careers after their maternity leave without discrimination.

"The Equality Commission still receives more complaints about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace than about any other form of gender discrimination.

"We also carry out a lot of work with employers, providing advice and guidance about the regulations governing pregnancy and maternity, work/life balance and flexible working."

(JP/MH)

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