£9k payout to woman forced from job while off on maternity leave
A Co Down woman who was made redundant during her maternity leave has received £9,000 from her former employers.
Aine Magorrian from Castlewellan took a case against Saliis Ltd alleging sex discrimination, unlawful discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and unfair dismissal with the help of the Equality Commission.
However, she received a settlement payment from the company before her industrial tribunal started.
Mrs Magorrian says she spoke out to help other women avoid the same situation.
She joined Saliis Ltd in early 2013. Her employment as operations and maintenance manager was terminated in October 2016.
Mrs Magorrian said that following the birth of her first daughter her role was changed in her absence. She claimed that on being assured by her employer that her new role was more secure, she did not at that time pursue a complaint.
When she became pregnant again she alleged that two new workers were recruited during sickness absence related to her pregnancy to carry out work she had been doing. On her return she was moved to other duties. Later, during her maternity leave, Mrs Magorrian was informed that she was being made redundant.
She challenged the reasons given - that it was because of a loss of contracts and a downturn in work in the renewables business. She believed she was selected for redundancy because of her maternity leave. She appealed the decision, but the company confirmed the redundancy. "I had always worked hard for the company and believe I made a very positive contribution to its work. Finding out that I was to be made redundant five months into my maternity leave was devastating for me and my family," she said.
In settling the case, Saliis Limited expressed its regret for any upset to Mrs Magorrian.
It affirmed its commitment to the principles of equality of opportunity and to ensuring that its policies, practices and procedures conform in all aspects with sex discrimination legislation.
It has also undertaken to meet with the Equality Commission to review its redundancy, maternity and equal opportunities policies and to consider the Commission's recommendations for any amendments and the training of staff.