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Pregnant woman who was dismissed after being asked if she had 'too much Supermac's' awarded €14,000

The hotel which employed the woman was ordered to pay her compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Image: Shutterstock/Thitinun Lerdkijsakul

A HOTEL BAR manager who was allegedly asked by her manager whether she had eaten too much Supermac’s while she was seven months pregnant has been awarded €14,000.

The manger at the unnamed hotel is alleged to have asked the bar manager the question on the same day that she was dismissed from her post in September, 2017.

Workplace Relations Commission adjudication officer Ewe Sobanska ordered the hotel to pay the woman €14,000 over her dismissal after finding that she was discriminated against on the grounds of her gender.

The unnamed bar manager told the WRC that she found the department manager’s Supermac’s comment “inappropriate and offensive”.

According to the woman, she informed the hotel’s general manager that she was pregnant on 5 September 2017, and said she was due to have her baby at Christmas time.

Later that day, she said that she was called to the general manager’s office, where a human resources and training executive was waiting with the hotel’s general manager.

At the meeting, the woman alleged that the human resources executive told her that the hotel could not afford to hire her any more, and that she was being made redundant.

She said that she left work feeling embarrassed and humiliated having been dismissed from her job.

Significant distress

Arguing her case at the WRC, the woman stated that in her dismissal letter, the reason she had been given for her dismissal was due to her being made redundant.

However, she said that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist at the hotel and claimed that her dismissal was a convenient way to deal with her pregnancy.

The woman said that the hotel’s actions caused her significant stress, upset and distress, and added that she wanted and needed to work until commencing her maternity leave, and expected to return to work after her maternity leave.

The woman had only commenced work at the hotel on 3 April, 2017.

In evidence, she confirmed that she informed her employer on 20 July, 2017 that she had a miscarriage.

The woman confirmed that she was not informed by a medical person of the miscarriage, but she thought she had suffered a miscarriage at the time.

The woman accepted that her employer genuinely believed that she had a miscarriage, submitting that she had a somewhat difficult pregnancy which caused her to be absent from work in May, June and July 2017.

She also confirmed that she did not inform her employer about her pregnancy until 5 September, 2017.

‘Ludicrous’

In response, the hotel categorically denied that the woman had been dismissed because she was pregnant.

It argued that the woman had informed it that she had suffered a miscarriage, and was the author of her own misfortune by never informing the hotel that this was, in fact, not the case.

The hotel claimed that the woman did not inform management about her pregnancy on 5 September 2017, and that the decision to make her redundant was taken on 28 August.

The general manager told the WRC that it would be “ludicrous” for him to make an employee redundant after being informed of her pregnancy, adding that seven staff members were pregnant at the time of the hearing.

The HR executive pointed out that nobody in the HR department would have allowed the redundancy to proceed if they were aware that the woman was pregnant.

They added that the complainant was “absolutely not” visibly pregnant.

The hotel also claimed that the decision to dismiss the woman was taken solely on economic grounds and was unrelated to her pregnancy.

Higher award

In her findings, Sobanska said it was a fact that the complainant’s sick leave at the time was fundamentally linked with her pregnancy.

Whether it was miscarried or not was irrelevant, she said, and the hotel was fully aware of that.

Sobanska said that the hotel did not offer sufficient evidence to show that the dismissal was not related to the woman’s pregnancy and the consequences of it.

She decided that the bar manager’s pregnancy was a significant factor in her dismissal, and that no genuine redundancy situation existed at the time.

She ordered the hotel to pay the woman €14,000, and said “whilst such discrimination might well merit a higher award, I have given consideration to the relatively short tenure of the complainant’s employment”.

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Gordon Deegan

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