Manager told sick pregnant worker she was ‘no use’

Former creche employee awarded €2,010 after successful unfair dismissal challenge

A pregnant creche worker who was told by her manager she was of “no use” to her after falling sick from a pregnancy-related illness has won her unfair dismissal case.

In the case, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has awarded the unnamed worker €2,010 after finding that she was unfairly dismissed by the creche run under the auspices of an unnamed religious order.

All parties in WRC cases are not identified and in the case, the Community Employment creche worker outlined how after informing her manager that she had secured a sick cert last December for the following week due to a pregnancy-related illness, her manager told her that if she was going to be sick she was of “no use” to her.

The woman said that after hearing this, she walked off crying. She confirmed that when informing her manager of securing the sick cert last December she had exhausted her sick leave.


The woman said that she left the workplace without telling the creche that she was leaving. She said that she felt as if she had been dismissed and this was because of the way the manager spoke to her.


However, the manager of the creche disputed the woman’s version of events. The manager told the WRC adjudication officer that the woman came into her office and told her that she was leaving her job.

The manager said that she told the woman that she should think this through but that the woman replied that her doctor had told that her that she was going to be very sick during the pregnancy.

The WRC was told that the manager would not have had the authority to dismiss the woman.

In his ruling, the adjudication officer in the case, Kevin Baneham said that the crux of the case is what the respondent did when the woman raised her pregnancy-related illness.

Mr Baneham said that he had to resolve the conflict of evidence in order to determine all the relevant issues in the dispute.

He concluded: “Having considered all of the evidence, I resolve it in favour of the complainant. I do so on the basis of her evidence at the adjudication, but also because she had everything to lose by leaving the job immediately.

He said: “I find as fact that the conversation took place as outlined by the complainant and that she was challenged assertively for taking further sick leave. I find that this amounts to an unfair dismissal within the definition of the Unfair Dismissals Acts. This arises irrespective of whether or not the manager had the legal authority to dismiss an employee.”

Mr Baneham said that the total award amounted to €2,010.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times