Pregnancy Discimination – Woman Awarded £28,000
Published 26 September 2019. By Kym Horner
A former worker at a commercial garden centre has been awarded almost £28,000 in compensation for pregnancy discrimination at the Industrial Tribunal.
Laura Gruzdaite, relocated to Northern Ireland with her husband to work for McGrane Nurseries, where they assumed they would be taking up permanent jobs. Upon commencing their employment in January 2018, they were given blank contracts to sign with no start or end dates, which Ms Gruzdaite found to be concerning.
Ms Gruzdaite informed a manager of her pregnancy and ante-natal appointment on 14 September. However four days after this, she and her husband were called into a meeting with their employer to explain her absence from work. Ms Gruzdaite later informed her manager of her next ante-natal appointment taking place on 10 October.
Whilst Ms Gruzdaite and her husband were at this ante-natal appointment, their employer called a meeting where a number of seasonal workers were told that their contracts were terminating with one week’s notice. This was to include both Ms Gruzdaite and her husband, who were not present at the meeting.
On 12 October, Ms Gruzdaite and her husband attended a meeting where they were informed of their dismissal. At this meeting their employer made reference to Ms Gruzdaite’s future ante-natal appointments, saying: “You will need more days off for your pregnancy doctor’s appointments.” Following the dismissal Ms Gruzdaite became extremely upset and distressed.
The Equality Commission supported Ms Gruzdaite’s case to the Industrial Tribunal, alleging unlawful discrimination because she was dismissed for a reason relating to her pregnancy and was treated adversely following the announcement of her pregnancy.
The Industrial Tribunal found unanimously in Ms Gruzdaite’s favour and awarded her £27,917.
Sancha O’Neill, Employment solicitor at MKB Law, comments: “The outcome for Ms Gruzdaite and the decision from the Tribunal is a triumph after the treatment she experienced. This discriminatory behaviour will unfortunately resonate with a lot of women in the workplace who have suffered from discrimination on the grounds of their pregnancy.
Please contact myself or my colleagues in MKB Law’s Employment department if you require advice, assistance or feel you have been subject to direct or indirect discriminatory treatment.”
This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice. Source: Equality Commission