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Hotel worker told her pregnancy was 'a problem' awarded €15,000 in compensation

Two months after informing her boss that she was pregnant, she was transferred from her cafe work to setting up tables at the weddings venue.

A HOTEL WORKER who was informed by a boss that her pregnancy was seen as a “problem” has been awarded €15,000 in compensation.

This follows the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordering the hotel to pay the award after the lone parent was successful in a pregnancy discrimination case against the hotel.

In its ruling, the WRC adjudication officer stated that the hotel worker “experienced discrimination across a number of her conditions of employment, and where I have no doubt that such discrimination would not have occurred had her employer not been made aware of her pregnancy”.

In the case, the hotel worker contended that in reality once her employer “discovered that she was pregnant, far from eliminating any risks posed to her, it increased the risks by moving her to the wedding venue and imposing far heavier duties upon her”.

The employee had been working in the hotel’s cafe and she contended that when she hurt herself while working at the wedding venue and subsequently went to hospital that her employment was summarily suspended.

The woman had worked on the tills, making coffees, serving food and taking orders in the hotel cafe and in June 2016, the worker informed her immediate boss that she was pregnant who subsequently approached the cafe worker to tell her that the operations manager wished to discuss her ‘problem’ with her.

The worker maintained that she was very upset at her pregnancy being described as a ‘problem’ by the operations manager.

On 10 August, two months after informing her boss that she was pregnant, she was transferred from her cafe work to setting up tables at the weddings venue.

As her pregnancy progressed the worker asked to be returned to her role in the café, or to be give a job with lighter duties which did not involve heavy lifting, but these requests were refused.

She further contended that the hotel is one of the country’s leading wedding venues, where it operates a bar and a restaurant and oyster bar which can hold 100 people, a function room that can cater for 180 guests, 40 bedrooms, a number of houses on the grounds, three apartments, a cafe, and a separate cookery school.

In these circumstances, it was submitted by the worker that the hotel could have reasonably found lighter duties for her when she was pregnant.


She argued that no attempt was made to remove any risk from her employment or to adjust her working conditions to allow her to continue working safely through her pregnancy. Furthermore, she argued that no suitable alternative work was sought or offered to her.

The woman had her baby daughter in December 2016 and returned to work at the hotel in March 2017.

She said that she that since her return, and since it became known that she had made a complaint to the WRC, the worker has felt ostracised at work and penalised for making a claim.

However, the Adjudication Officer stated that there was no evidence presented by the worker with regard to how she was treated less favourably to other employees with regard to her working hours upon her return to work.

The hotel disputed the woman’s entire claim and denied discrimination.

In its findings, the WRC Adjudication Officer found that it was clear that the worker was moved to different work after she had reported she was pregnant.

The officer stated that it is also clear that this work involved duties which required more physical activity, in that it required setting up for wedding functions, and where the hotel worker was asked to complete this work without a thorough and suitable health and safety risk assessment.

On the comment that the operations manager regarded the worker’s pregnancy as a ‘problem’, the Adjudication Officer stated that s/he was satisfied that on the balance of probability remarks were made to the worker by the operations manager that could reasonably be regarded as sounding, in the least, to be negative towards the fact she was pregnant.

The operations manager stated that it would be unlike him say such things, though he could not recall specifically whether he did or did not say this.

On being transferred to the wedding venue, the WRC stated that “the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Complainant was moved because she was pregnant and as such she was discriminated in her conditions of employment by virtue of her pregnancy”.

The WRC Adjudication Officer also found that “in light of the variety of locations it operates I am satisfied it could have found alternative work for the complainant to that of the setting up wedding functions, and where her former role in the café would have been suitable as that is the role which was assessed and found to be safe in the first instance”.

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