Woman ‘broken’ after miscarriage and being sacked days later

Aneta Petrova comments after ex-employer told to pay her €17,000 on unfair dismissal finding

A 37-year old Bulgarian woman said today she was left a “broken” woman after suffering a miscarriage and being sacked days later by her employer two years ago.

Aneta Petrova was commenting today on the Labour Court ordering her former employer, chicken producer Western Brand Ltd, to pay her €17,000 after finding she was unfairly dismissed.

Ms Petrova said she cried down the phone when told by a Western Brand representative that she had lost her job because she was “out sick for too long”, on December 29th, 2015.

Just 12 days earlier, Ms Petrova was rushed to hospital after fainting at home. She subsequently had a miscarriage at hospital.


‘I felt guilty’

She said: “I cried on the phone because I felt guilty because I lost a job I was looking for for a year.

“It was the most sad time. I was grieving – every woman who has been through this – we all grieve. You feel guilty that you didn’t keep this baby – you feel terribly, terribly broken.

“And to top it off – just to lose a simple job like that for a reason like this – I couldn’t understand it.”

Ms Petrova said she did not know she was pregnant when rushed to Mayo University Hospital on December 17th, and believes now she was seven weeks pregnant when she miscarried.

‘Saddest Christmas’

She said: “I was devastated because of my age – I’m old for having children – and I was told that because of my medical history that I probably won’t have children. I had the saddest Christmas of my life that year.”

Ms Petrova has a masters degree in European Law and a degree in economics and speaks English, Russian, German and Spanish. In Bulgaria, she had a job training doctors to use medical equipment.

Before the court, Western Brand pleaded it did not realise that Ms Petrova was pregnant or had suffered a miscarriage at the time of dismissal, and that her medical certs confirming the miscarriage were not seen by payroll before the call was made to dismiss her on December 29th.

The company stated that after finding that Ms Petrova had suffered a miscarriage, it subsequently apologised to Ms Petrova and said she could reapply for her job when she returned to full health.

However, the Labour Court found that Western Brand did know about Ms Petrova’s pregnancy and miscarriage at the time of dismissal.

The court had already heard that on December 21st, a medical certificate was delivered to the Western Brand Group Ltd’s offices in Ballyhaunis, confirming that Ms Petrova had suffered a miscarriage.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times