Three women settle discrimination cases over maternity matters
EX- IFA employee among cases assisted by Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Settlements paid to the three women amounted to a total of €18,000 and were made without admission of liability and before they reached industrial tribuna
A former employee of the Irish Football Association (IFA) has received an £8,000 (€9,200) payout following an allegation of sex discrimination.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland recently assisted Cherie White and two other women to settle separate cases against their different employers around pregnancy or maternity related matters.
The women from the greater Belfast area claimed the treatment they had experienced by their employers breached the Sex Discrimination Order (NI).
Settlements paid to the three women amounted to a total of £15,500 and were made without admission of liability and before they reached industrial tribunal.
Ms White alleged that a number of the IFA’s temporary positions, including posts which had arisen while she was on maternity leave, had been made permanent.
“I’d worked for the IFA for a number of years on temporary contracts and I believed that, but for my maternity leave, I would have been in a position to be considered for one of the permanent posts,” she said.
“I appreciate the support the commission has given me and I am glad the case has now been resolved.”
Kelly McAtamney, whose case was settled for £4,500, had worked for Medi Cosmetics as a beauty therapist.
Ms McAtamney alleged that when she told her employer that her doctor had advised her to “stay off her feet” as much as possible, the company would not adjust her duties to accommodate this.
“Subsequently I felt I had to resign,” she said.
Sarah Shilliday’s case against RJN Chemicals was settled for £3,000. Ms Shilliday had applied for a job as an area manager after her former employer had gone into liquidation while she was on maternity leave.
She received an e-mail from the company which, while commenting favourably on her suitability, said: “sadly I’m afraid your personal arrangements with the new baby will make it impossible to carry out this role”.
“I was really upset when I received this email as it clearly indicated that the fact I had a child had influenced the decision not to appoint me,” she said.
Eileen Lavery from the Equality Commission said pregnancy discrimination in the workplace has “remained a persistent problem”.
“The most common cause of complaint on the grounds of gender made to the Equality Commission is still from women who feel they have been treated unfairly either when they became pregnant or on their return to work after maternity leave,” she added.