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Redundancy during pregnancy – award of €95,000

A mortgage consultant has been awarded €95,000 – the equivalent of one year’s pay – by the Equality Tribunal, which said she had been unfairly selected for redundancy due to her pregnancy.

The Tribunal, however, declined to consider a victimisation claim brought by the claimant, against her employer.

As this claim was not made for more than twelve months after the alleged act in question, the Equality Officer could not consider the matter. It was pointed out that the first reference to victimisation was not made until after the claimant’s submission as received by the Tribunal.

SPECIAL PROTECTION FOR MATERNITY

Since the ruling in ‘Dekker v Stichling’ it has been long established jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice that the entire period of pregnancy and maternity leave constitutes a specially protected period.

The claimant was made redundant while pregnant. The respondent did not attend to offer oral evidence as to the reasons for the redundancy. In his submission, the respondent said he had no alternative but to dismiss the claimant due to the company’s financial circumstances. The respondent was under a burden of proof which he had not discharged, in the Tribunal’s view.

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