Published Thursday, 31 July 2014
Nicola McNamee and her daughter Melissa Rose. (© Pacemaker)
Nicola McNamee took the sex discrimination case against Melting Moments bakery in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh after she was dismissed within a week of telling her employer she was going to have a baby.
The company claimed that its decision to let the 24-year-old go last April, just two months after taking her on, was based on her conduct and performance.
However, an industrial tribunal panel rejected this and instead found the reason for dismissal was "the fact of her pregnancy".
The panel also accepted a claim by Ms McNamee that she was told at her initial job interview not to get pregnant or married in her first year in the job.
Although an employee with less than 12 months' continuous employment cannot usually bring a claim of unfair dismissal, this is not the case where the reason is related to pregnancy.
Ms McNamee's daughter Melissa Rose was born in August last year.
The young mother was awarded £7,500 for injury to her feelings and £15,788 compensation for loss of earnings.
She said when she first got the job she was delighted.
"I was told it would take about six months to get me up to speed with the job," Nicola said.
"Around the end of March I found out I was pregnant and I spoke to one of the owners at the start of April and told her about it. She suggested that I think about whether it was best for me to continue working or if I'd be better off leaving.
"I didn't want to leave, I was happy to work and I was devastated when I was dismissed a week later.
"I am glad the tribunal has found in my favour and now I just want to get on with my life with my little daughter."
Ms McNamee was supported in bringing the case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
Chief commissioner Dr Michael Wardlow said the laws governing pregnancy and maternity issues in the workplace were essential to protect the rights and support the needs of women in the workplace.
He said: "The Equality Commission still receives more complaints about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace than about any other form of gender discrimination.
"As a society, we need to ensure that women who become pregnant don't lose their employment and that they can resume their careers after their maternity leave without discrimination."
Staff at Melting Moments said no one was available for comment.
© UTV News