Hotel marketing manager awarded €315,000 for victimisation when pregnant


THE FORMER marketing manager for an Irish hotel group has been awarded more than €315,000 by the Equality Tribunal for discrimination and victimisation when she was pregnant.

Julie O’Brien claimed she had been discriminated against on grounds of gender and family status by Persian Properties, trading as O’Callaghan Hotels.

The group owns the Alexander, Davenport and Mont Clare Hotels in Dublin and also has properties in Gibraltar and Annapolis.

Equality officer Orlaith Mannion found that Ms O’Brien had been subjected to “grave harassment” by her managers and that the company had unilaterally terminated her contract of employment while she was pregnant.

Ms O’Brien, who had worked in a high-profile role with the company since May 2003, first became pregnant in 2004. Her first son was born just hours after she finished work on January 14th, 2005.

She submitted that she had been put under pressure not to take her full maternity leave on that occasion, and again following the birth of her second son in 2008.

During her third pregnancy, in July 2009, Ms O’Brien was put under pressure to take voluntary redundancy, which she did not wish to take. She submitted that her line manager had said: “Sure isn’t it better than being given a month’s notice and told to leave.”

The same manager had also referred to how “well-connected” the managing director was, which she found “very threatening”.