Employment Equality Act

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Pregnancy is a natural part of the lives of most women and pregnant workers have strong and stringent protection under Employment Equality Legislation and the Maternity Protection Act.

Recent case law especially a decision of the Labour Court deal precisely with the rights of women. The employee in question went on her maternity leave. At the end of her maternity leave she was not back in the same site that she previously had been on. The Company in its defence said it was the client who had right to decide who they would accept on any given site and that the treatment of the complaint had nothing to do with her pregnancy and maternity leave. The Court held that the Court could not accept that a clause in her contract which allowed a third party to dictate who could or could not be assigned to the site was superior to any statutory right, therefore, the Labour Court strictly upheld the right of the employee concerned and, effectively, found that the rights of the employee under Legislation trumped any private contractual relation between the employer and a third party. In this particular case the complainant stated that prior to her maternity leave she was based in location about 30 minutes from her place of residence and was permanent. After her return from maternity leave the alternative work offered was a new contract of 3 months and a location that required a 4 hour round trip to commute. Clearly, the terms the contract offered were substantially less favourable. In this case the complainant received up to €51,000.00 compensation as she brought her claim under the Employment Equality Acts. If you have any concerns in respect of this or any other employment matters please contact Finola Cronin at fcronin@dobbynmccoy.com or telephone (051) 874087.