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Unfair Dismissal

Woman, sacked same day she told employer she had to attend pregnancy appointment, awarded €10,000

The woman had been working at the company for a little over a month.

shutterstock_364954439 Shutterstock / Jaengpeng Shutterstock / Jaengpeng / Jaengpeng

A WOMAN WHO was sacked the same day she informed her manager of three ante-natal appointments that she had to attend has been awarded €10,000 for unfair dismissal.

The woman, an administrator at the software company, took up her role in July 2017 after being the second-in-line for the job, the first person having quit after two weeks.

Her duties involved spreadsheet compilation and invoice dispersal, although she said she could have performed other functions with further training.

One week after she joined, she informed her line manager that she was nine weeks pregnant, a revelation that she said elicited a less than enthusiastic response.

On the morning of 14 August, she gave her manager details of three ante-natal appointments that she needed to keep.


That afternoon, she was called into a meeting with the same manager to inform her she was being made redundant, due to ‘cost-cutting measures’, with immediate effect.

The manager offered to gather her things from her desk so that she wouldn’t have to before leaving the building.

At the Workplace Relations Commission hearing for the case, it emerged that subsequently a receptionist at the company resigned – a role for which the complainant would have been suitable, but was not offered.

The company’s representative at the hearing claimed that the decision to make the woman redundant was taken by its chief financial officer, who was not aware that she was pregnant.

It also claimed that the company was in a precarious financial position and needed to reduce overheads.


Over the nine months following July 2017, the company reduced its headcount from 54 to 46. However, apart from the complainant, all of those who left were people who resigned.

Likewise, the woman who was made redundant was the only person in the company’s Irish workforce who was selected for redundancy.

At that time she was 13 weeks pregnant. She had resigned from another role in order to take up the job with the company at a salary of €30,000 per year.

She has not worked since her dismissal.

In considering the case, adjudicating officer Catherine Byrne ruled that, while pregnant employees can be made redundant, such an action must be the absolute last resort, with no other alternative available.

She said that she did not believe that no other alternatives were available to the company.

The saving the company made as a result of letting the woman go was roughly €10,000, or one third of her salary before year-end.

She therefore ordered the company to pay the woman that sum in compensation for her unfair dismissal.