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DiscriminationNovember 6, 2014
An apprentice hairdresser has been awarded $5,000 in damages on account to an ‘injury of feelings’ after the relationship broke down between herself and her 25 year old employer on the attempted termination upon finding out she was pregnant.
The employer, and owner of the ‘Seaside Salon’ in South Australia tried to terminate the employees’ apprenticeship, claiming that the apprentice was disinclined to attend to customers and spent all day on Facebook. The employer also claimed that there was a change in attitude after becoming pregnant.
Despite this, the employee claimed that her employer treated her unfairly after news of the pregnancy, treating her with an air of ‘suspicion and distance’. This including telling other employees of her pregnancy, when asked not to, and the employer becoming rude and angry when told by the pregnant apprentice, that on doctors’ advice, she could no longer work in the spray tanning booth.
After the tanning booth argument, the employer wrote a letter of warning to the apprentice, however, the tribunal discovered that the predominant reason for such warning letter was her concern on the pregnant apprentice’s impact on the running of the salon.
Upon further investigation, the tribunal discovered that the apprentice had no longer wanted to continue her apprenticeship, and would rather be signed off than attempt to rebuild the previous friendship she had with her employer.
The full bench found out that that the ‘actual termination of the employment relationship’ was not ‘solely on account of (the employers) attitude’ and that the situation was far more complicated than an employee/employer relationship, due to their prior friendship. Despite the apprentice seeking $10,500 in compensation for loss and damages, the tribunal decided that due to the employee’s decision to seek the signing off of her apprenticeship, she was instead awarded $5,000 for injury of feelings.
If you have a pregnant employee, we can help you manage their life changing situation, fairly on them as an employee and fairly on yourself as an employer. Call us today on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below.
*Information sourced via Workplace Express