A woman has been awarded €18,000 by the Labour Court after she was found to have been the victim of gender discrimination and victimisation.
Karolina Poslajko was employed by Clelands Supermarkets Ltd, reports the Irish Examiner. In August 2014 she notified her supervisor that she was pregnant, and also left a letter from her GP confirming this in the office.
She was subsequently summoned to several meetings with the business owner, Mr Cleland, who criticised her work and her appearance and notified her that her hours of work were being cut from 39 a week to 24 because she was under performing.
Ms Poslajko’s maternity leave began in March 2015, and during this time her solicitors contacted Mr Cleland to claim that the reduction in her hours was related to her pregnancy and therefore amounted to direct gender discrimination.
When she returned to work in October 2015 she was told her hours were being further reduced to just nine a week. Ms Poslajko resigned and brought a claim for discrimination.
Mr Cleland claimed he had initially been unaware that Ms Poslajko was pregnant and therefore the reduction of hours at that time couldn’t have been related to the pregnancy. However, the court didn’t believe this was credible and found in Ms Poslajko’s favour.
This case demonstrates the importance of managing all employees fairly and transparently and the potential consequences of getting in wrong. Employers must ensure that they are sufficiently prepared to deal with issues of discrimination should they arise. This means, amongst other things, keeping their policies and procedures for dealing with equality and discrimination in the workplace fully up to date and in accordance with the law.
At Sherwin O’Riordan, we have developed specialist expertise in the field of Equality and Discrimination Law. We regularly advise both employers and employees on how to handle situations of questionable treatment in the workplace. If you are concerned that you are being discriminated against, or would like more information about how you can protect your employees against discrimination, please contact our team and find out how we can help.
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