Bakery sacked woman for being pregnant

Published Thursday, 31 July 2014
Toggle font size

A bakery has been ordered to pay more than £20,000 to a former worker after an employment tribunal found she had been sacked for becoming pregnant.

Bakery sacked woman for being pregnant
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
Comments Comments
heather in newtownabbey wrote (181 days ago):
well done to this young woman she deserves it .. all well and good those saying she should not have been paid this money ... its about time that these small businesses are sorted out they employ young people on zero hours contracts thinking they can do whatever they like with them ,, a good decision by the court , on this occasion the little person won and well done to this girl for having stood up for herself !!!!
Rachel in London wrote (183 days ago):
I think that to say that she should have known better is unfair and naive. Maybe she had to work to support her child. Everyone has a right to work, and regardless if you start a job 6 months pregnant you CANNOT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. That is the law and that is why it is there to protect women. Would you rather her on benefits, using your tax to fund her lifestyle. Good on her for trying. This company was wrong, she has a right to maternity leave, it would have only been statutory given her service, and they could have replaced her during this period.
Gandhi in Craigavon wrote (184 days ago):
Girl was dismissed because she was pregnant, no matter what the payout was the company (Bakery)were 100% in the wrong and deserve what they get.
Katie in Belfast wrote (184 days ago):
The amount of sexist remarks on this article is unreal! It wasn't 23k for 2 months work, it was 23k for loss of earnings and for basically telling the girl 'you are useless to us now you are pregnant'. It's 2014, women should be treated equally without question.
Lorna in Belfast wrote (184 days ago):
The bakery easily could have put her on health and safety leave while they took some legal advice and decided what the best approach was! the fact that her boss was a woman makes this harder to swallow. Stupidity got the bakery into a financial mess so everyone in small busness needs to sit up and take note, if you are in doubt, make contact with someone whi isn't...... congratulations on your baby too Nicola.
Email address*:    
House Rules:  
Your Comment:  
[All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Your name, location and comment will be displayed on this page if your post passes moderation.]
January snow
Tue 13 January 2015
Wintry weather
Wed 28 January 2015
Ravenhill Road fish spill
Sun 25 January 2015