It's amazing that some managers are still not educated on employment equality and the effect that their comments can have when it comes to discrimination claims. In this recent case involving the NCRB, the manager's comments on pregnancy certainly would not have been helpful when it came to the hearing. Even more interesting is that the manager was not available for cross-examination. This may have been a very wise decision!
I'm sure that equality training is on the agenda with this employer now. Failing to extend the employee's research project when she advised her employer she was pregnant and then making her redundant while another colleague's contract was extended was held to be discriminatory treatment. The employee was awarded 9 months salary (€35,138) together with €11,712 for distress caused by victimisation. Some equality awareness training certainly would have been cheaper!
This decision also highlights the importance of a consistent approach by employers to all employees and ensuring that precedent is considered when making any decisions regarding employees. In this case the employee had previously been able to pause her research project for maternity leave but this was not the case with her second pregnancy.
The decision also follows the ongoing trend of maternity and pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Last August the Equality andHuman Rights Commissionin the UK published the results of a study of more than 3,200 women. The study found that 11 per cent of the women interviewed reported having been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant where others were not, or treated so poorly that they felt they had little choice but to leave their jobs. Why is this still happening?
If your organisation needs to discuss its equality awareness training needs please contact any member of our Employment Team http://leman.ie/practices/employmentpensions/
She recalled that her line manager at the NCRB expressed negative comments to her on Irish women having children at two-yearly intervals. Accordingly she was nervous when informing her manager of her own pregnancy in January 2011. The woman further recalled that the same line manager told her on a research trip to Portugal that “women work less after having a baby”.