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DiscriminationJuly 10, 2015
A young mother from the United Kingdom has been awarded compensation after the courts found that her employer, Engaged Fundraising Pty Ltd, was guilty of ‘pregnancy discrimination’.
Teri Cumlin was a team member at the charity collection company before her employment was terminated, just two months before she gave birth. The sole culprit of the discrimination was Cumlin’s manager Mark Robertson, who targeted Cumlin as soon as she confessed that she was pregnant.
“He started shouting in my face, telling me how stupid I was and that they wouldn’t be able to keep me on” said the 22-year-old. Robertson allegedly constantly harassed Cumlin in regards to “taking too many toilet breaks, drinking too much water and generally being unfit to work”. Robertson also regularly sent Cumlin home unpaid. He also allegedly told Cumlin to arrive late to work so that he could berate her in front of her colleagues.
When Cumlin told Robertson that she was pregnant he responded with “if you want a career, then I’d advise you to terminate your baby.” He suggested Cumlin would lose her job unless she had an abortion.
Culmin was then demoted from her team leader position. She complained to her company’s head office, but no action was taken. Eventually she felt compelled to take the matter to court and has since been awarded approximately $23,000 in compensation.
Lawyer Agnes Maxwell-Ferguson hopes that this case highlights to employers that this sort of attitude towards pregnant women in the workplace will not be tolerated.
When an employee becomes pregnant, employers need to ensure that they have the correct policies and procedures in place to protect the employee from discrimination. Safeguards should be used to ensure that your workplace conditions are catered to the health and safety of all employees. Paternity and maternity leave entitlements should also be included in all employee handbooks.
If you would like to discuss any policies or procedures which you believe will protect your business from employment relations issues, call Employsure on 1300 651 415 for support, implementation and advice.
Sourced: The Mirror