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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 21 October 2021

Female worker was told her pregnancy is 'a condition, not a f***ing illness'

The incident happened within the last month and has been revealed by the trade union UNITE to mark International Women’s Day.

A WOMAN WHO works in customer service in Leinster was subjected to a torrent of abuse from a manager after she became pregnant, according to the UNITE trade union.

The incident happened within the last month and a formal complaint was made to UNITE which has released the story to highlight the level of abuse towards women in the workplace that it says is still deemed as acceptable by some Irish managers.

The trade union said it was dealing with more cases of abuse of women in the work place than ever before during the current economic climate and said that some managers were illegally using pregnancy to put pressure on employees.

In one incident the woman, who works in customer service and did not want to be identified, informed her manager that she was four months pregnant.

The women was upset when her manager became angry at the fact that she would need to take time off for scans as he normally visited the workplace regularly.

He told her that his business should not have to suffer because she was pregnant.

After the woman left to compose herself, she came back to find him in a more conciliatory mood and he gave her a list of dates that she could take off.

She said she would have to consult with her husband but that she would need the following Monday morning off for a doctor’s appointment.

At that point he became extremely angry and told her:

Christ! Now I will have to come down again. You have f**ked up my next week as well as this week. For god’s sake you have a condition, not a f**king illness.

The comments do not break any industrial relations laws but UNITE says it will keep the incident on file.

The union points to other cases where women were discriminated against after becoming pregnant with one woman told she would be replaced in her job by a software programme.

Another was told that she could no longer work part-time despite having done so for five years prior to becoming pregnant for the second time.

UNITE said that such abuse was “wholly unacceptable”.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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