Irish firm has much to learn about pregnancy-related discrimination

An Irish-based firm has been ordered to pay €17,000 (£14,000) to a woman it unfairly dismissed while off sick suffering a miscarriage. The chicken processing firm told the woman that she had been “sick for too long” when dismissing her. This was 12 days after the woman was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy.Just eight days after this, she was sacked over the phone by an employee at the firm’s payroll office.

Although the employer pleaded that they didn’t realise that the worker had suffered a miscarriage the Irish Labour Court (equivalent to the Employment Tribunal in the UK) ruled that they did know. The Labour Court ruling has now upheld the unfair dismissal ruling and increased the level of compensation to €17,000 (£14,000).

As of 2010 in the UK, employers had to consider these legal responsibilities: such as giving pregnant women time off for antenatal appointments; not discriminating against pregnant women and ensuring that women who have suffered a miscarriage aren’t unduly stressed by the work environment.

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