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Blog  »  May 2014  »  Employee Awarded €80,000 in Gender Discrimination Case - Blog
May 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Employee Awarded €80,000 in Gender Discrimination Case

A former female employee of BCon Communications Limited has successfully defended her claim that she had been harassed and discriminatorily dismissed by her former employer on the grounds of family status and gender.

The Equality Tribunal heard that once Ms Mullen informed her Managing Director that she was pregnant with her third child he “froze her out”, removed tasks from her, and undermined her in front of clients.

It was also claimed that at an interview to find a maternity leave replacement the Managing Director reportedly said “I’m not sure if [Ms Mullen] will be coming back to work especially now she will have three children to look after”.

When Ms Mullen returned from maternity leave she was told that her role of Financial Controller no longer existed. She was offered a lesser role, even though the replacement was still carrying out her former duties. Ms Mullen refused to take on the lower role and the Managing Director considered Ms Mullen to have resigned when she refused to return to work in the lesser role.

The Equality Tribunal awarded Ms Mullen €80,000 for the discrimination suffered.

Family status and gender are two of nine grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful under Irish equality legislation. The other seven grounds include: civil status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the travelling community.

This case serves as a reminder of the importance of equality in the workplace and the high awards that are granted where weaknesses exist. To reduce the risk of such claims, employers need to have a clear equality policy in place which should be clearly communicated to all employees, particularly managers.

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