Northern Ireland

Fermanagh woman sacked after becoming pregnant compensated

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Media captionNicola McNamee, pictured with her daughter, said she was devastated when she was dismissed from her job

A County Fermanagh woman has been awarded more than £23,000 after a tribunal found she was subjected to sex discrimination because of pregnancy and was unfairly dismissed.

Nicola McNamee was awarded £7,500 for injury to her feelings and £15,788 compensation for loss of earnings.

She began working for Melting Moments Bakery in Lisnaskea in February 2013, but was dismissed on 11 April.

Her case was assisted by the Equality Commission.

In its decision, the tribunal said it was "satisfied that the reason for [her] dismissal was that she had become pregnant".

It also said it was "not persuaded that the dismissal of the claimant related to her conduct or competence or performance".

Ms McNamee said she had believed the job would be a long-term one.

"I was told it would take about six months to get me up to speed with the job," she 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.

Image caption The case was assisted by the Equality Commission

"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."

'Most complaints'

Dr Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, said the laws governing pregnancy and maternity issues in the workplace were essential to protect the rights and support the needs of women.

"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," he said.

"The Equality Commission still receives more complaints about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace than about any other form of gender discrimination.

"We also carry out a lot of work with employers, providing advice and guidance about the regulations governing pregnancy and maternity, work/life balance and flexible working."

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