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Sex discrimination claim woman wins £8,000 payout from IFA

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 23/09/2016

Settlement: Cherie White
Settlement: Cherie White

A woman who claimed the Irish Football Association breached the law on sex discrimination has been awarded £8,000.

Cherie White alleged she missed out on the chance of a permanent job with the IFA while on maternity leave.

The settlement was made without admission of liability and without going to a tribunal.

Ms White alleged that a number of temporary positions, including posts which had arisen while she was on maternity leave, had been made permanent.

She said: "I'd worked for the IFA for a number of years on temporary contracts and I believed that, but for my maternity leave, I would have been in a position to be considered for one of the permanent posts."

A spokesperson for the IFA said: "The Irish FA acted upon professional advice in this case. The settlement was made without admission of liability."

It came as the Equality Commission warned women are still being penalised for being pregnant in the workplace in Northern Ireland.

Ms White is one of a number of women who have recently settled cases against employers. The women claimed the treatment they had experienced breached the Sex Discrimination Order (NI).

They all felt that decisions made about them, whether relating to recruitment or about their existing jobs, were affected by their pregnancy or maternity situation.

Sarah Shilliday, whose case was settled for £3,000, had applied for a job as an area manager with RJN Chemicals, after her previous employer had gone into liquidation while she was on maternity leave. These circumstances were discussed at her interview for the post.

Ms Shilliday said: "My family circumstances and childcare responsibilities were discussed at the interview, but I felt I answered the questions very fully and was optimistic about my prospects for the job."

She then received an email from RJN Chemicals which, while commenting favourably on her suitability, said her pregnancy made it "impossible".

It said: "Sadly I'm afraid your personal arrangements with the new baby will make it impossible to carry out this role."

Ms Shilliday added: "I was really upset when I received this email as it clearly indicated that the fact I had a child had influenced the decision not to appoint me. I could have accepted not getting the job if that was because I wasn't the best candidate, but to have the opportunity denied because I am a mother is not acceptable."

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