£45,000 award after employer pretended employee didn’t qualify for statutory maternity pay
A tribunal in Northern Ireland has awarded £45,000 for sex discrimination to a woman whose employer pretended that she was working part time while she was pregnant so that it didn’t have to pay statutory maternity pay to her.
Ms Quigley worked at a cafe in Londonderry that was owned by Mr McGrory. She worked between 40 and 45 hours per week before she became pregnant, reduced to 30 hours per week when she became pregnant. However, when she asked about statutory maternity pay, Mr McGrory told her that he had put only 15 hours of her working week “through the books” so that she did not qualify for statutory maternity pay. He insisted that she lie to social security staff to cover up what he had done, which she refused to do.
Ms Quigley told the tribunal that she used her savings while trying to get statutory maternity pay and that she had been unable to enjoy her initial period with her baby because of money worries. The tribunal also heard medical evidence that she became ill as a result of her treatment by Mr McGrory.
The tribunal awarded Ms Quigley £45,000 for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination, with the award for injury to feelings presumably at the higher end of the scale.