17/10/2019

Female Engineer Settles Sex Discrimination Case For £5k

A female engineer has settled a sex discrimination case for £5,000 after alleging she was subjected to unlawful discrimination on the basis of her gender.

Amy Verner, a former Design Engineer at Grants Electrical Services, took the case as she believed she was treated less favourably because colleagues were under the impression that she would soon become pregnant.

Ms Verner had worked on projects from both client premises and her own office, but was assigned only office based work after getting married. Supported by the Equality Commission, she alleged these projects had been allocated to other engineers and that she was now tasked with office based and Computer Aided Design (CAD) projects only.

Ms Verner commented: "I enjoyed my job and the projects I worked on, but I was shocked by comments made to me before and after my wedding which suggested that there was a sense of resentment that I would soon be pregnant. I was neither pregnant nor planning to become pregnant. It was implied that by having a baby I would somehow be dumping my work responsibilities on to colleagues.
News Image
"When my projects were given to other engineers and I was then given CAD work and some other office based jobs, I firmly believed that other people's assumptions that I wished to start a family were now affecting my career. I raised my concerns with the company as I felt the comments were unfair and unjustified but I don't think they were taken seriously. In the end I felt I had no option but to seek employment elsewhere."

The case has since been settled for £5,000 without admission of liability. As part of the settlement terms Grants Electrical Services (NI) Limited has affirmed its commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity in the workplace and has agreed to meet with the Commission to review its policies, practices and procedures.

Anne McKernan, Director of Legal of Services at the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said: "Amy's experiences highlight the need for all employers to take their employees concerns seriously and to have robust policies and procedures in place to deal with issues raised. They must not make assumptions about their female employees and subsequently treat them less favourably than their male counterparts.

"Women are an essential part of building our economy and currently women are persistently underrepresented across the STEM industries in Northern Ireland. It is important that skilled, knowledgeable and experienced women are encouraged to build a career in our STEM industries."



(JG/MH)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 November 2019
Flood Warning As Heavy Downpours Expected
It's set to be a rainy weekend with heavy downpours forecast for Saturday, 09 November. The Met Office warned of a chance of flooding and travel disruption as the band of heavy rain sweeps Northern Ireland, mainly across the east. A yellow weather alert will be in place for counties Antrim, Armagh and Down from 5am until 8pm.
31 October 2019
SF: PSNI Failing Families Of Troubles Victims
Sinn Fein has accused the PSNI of continually failing the families of Troubles victims after it emerged that reports into three deaths will be delayed.
23 November 2017
Belfast And L'Derry's Joint Bid For European Capital Of Culture Rejected
Belfast and L'Derry's joint bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 has been rejected over Brexit. The European Commission (EC) wrote to the UK government and stated that after the withdrawal from the European Union (EU) the UK could not take part.
29 January 2018
Bombardier Wins Case With Boeing
Aerospace firm Bombardier has won a case in the US with rival company Boeing which put thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland at risk. A decision was overturned to impose huge 292% tariffs on imports of its C-Series planes. The wings for the C Series are made in NI.
26 January 2018
Loughinisland Murders: Case To Be Heard Before New Judge
A new judge is to hear a legal challenge to a Police Ombudman's ruling of collusion in the Loughinisland massacre. Six catholic men were fatally shot as they watch a football match in the village in 1994. Mr Justice McCloskey delivered a verdict that the report by the Ombudsman was unlawful and procedurally unfair.