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Beauty therapist told pregnancy 'was her own problem' before being dismissed

The therapist was awarded €3,500 by the Workplace Relations Commission.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Dragan Grkic

A BEAUTY THERAPIST was told her pregnancy “was her own problem” and was dismissed.

In a case before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), the unnamed woman has been awarded a total of €5,179 under a number of breaches of employment legislation.

The bulk of the award – €4,000 – is for the circumstances around the dismissal.

In the case, the woman told her employer in October 2015 that she was pregnant.

In January 2016, she received a phone call from the salon’s manager stating that the business’s accountant said she should be dismissed due to an extremely difficult trading position and a significant decline in business.

The therapist asked that she be allowed to continue at work and suggested that her hours be halved to work one day a week.

The therapist said the manager became aggressive and explained the company’s circumstances.

However, the employee received her dismissal letter on 21 January 2016. Two days before receiving the dismissal letter, the pregnant woman phoned the salon and she alleged that the daughter of the manager told her that her “pregnancy was her own problem” in the context of being dismissed.

Harassment 

The Adjudication Officer in the case awarded the therapist €3,500 for the discrimination she suffered as a result of being dismissed while pregnant and €500 for harassment arising from the phone call on 19 January.

The WRC official said, in making the appropriate remedy, she was mindful that the employer went out of business July 2016.

Yesterday, employment law expert and solicitor Richard Grogan, who was not involved in the case, said he believed the €4,000 award “will no way, in a month of Sundays, act as a deterrent to employers in sacking pregnant employees”.

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Gordon Deegan

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