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"If you were loyal to the company, your pregnancy would not be an issue”

Agnieszka Sobczyk has been awarded €10,000 in compensation after being fired.

Image: Facebook/SamiSwoi

A POLISH GROCERY store has been told to pay a former employee €10,000 for dismissing her after she became pregnant.

Agnieszka Sobczyk, a full-time shop assistant, made a complaint to the Equality Tribunal over her dismissal from the Sami Swoi store in January 2012.

Sobczyk says she informed the store manager in October 2011 that she was pregnant and provided them with doctor’s note in which set out the dates of her pregnancy.

On 10 December, she became unwell while at work and took her manager’s advice to visit a GP.

The GP provided her with certificate saying she was unable to work until the end of the month due to pregnancy-related sickness.

Sobczyk then travelled to Poland for the Christmas period and upon returning on 1 January texted her manager asking when she was rostered to work.

She received no reply and the next day was phoned by the store manager who told her she was being dismissed.

When Sobczyk challenged this she says he manager responded by saying, “if you were loyal to the company, your pregnancy would not be an issue”.

She also adds in her complaint to the Equality Tribunal that she did not receive any letter of termination setting out the reasons for her dismissal.

Sami Swoi made no initial response to the Equality Tribunal after the complaint was made.

In February, however, after a date for a hearing was set, the store sent a response to the Equality Tribunal saying that they had reached an agreement with their former employee.

The Equality Tribunal says this agreement included the payment of a “three figure sum” with the store arguing that this had settled matters between them.

Sobczyk, disagreed, however with her and her solicitors arguing that the payment was only connected to the a separate claim before the Right’s Commissioner.

Her case against Sami Swoi was taken on two grounds, one on the grounds of discrimination based on her gender and also because of her family status.

The Equality Tribunal found in favour on the first issue saying that discrimination did occur.

“The evidence adduced by the complainant clearly related to her treatment during her pregnancy and thus supported a claim on the grounds of gender.”

Sami Swoi was then ordered to pay her compensation totalling €10,000.

Read: MS sufferer made to do ‘boring, degrading and insulting’ work awarded €20,000 >

Read: McDonald’s did not discriminate against an Irish woman because of her nationality >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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