Northern Ireland woman settles pregnancy discrimination case

By Gillian Crotty

Áine Magorrian from Castlewellan, County Down, has accepted a £9,000 compensation settlement in respect of her sex discrimination claim against her former employers Saliis.

Mrs Magorrian joined the renewable energy firm in early 2013 and worked as an operations and maintenance manager. She was assisted in her discrimination claim by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, who say the problem began after the birth of her first child. Her role was changed while she was still on maternity leave, but her employers assured her that the change provided increased job security. Mrs Magorrian had to take sick leave as a result of illness during her second pregnancy, and it was during this time that she alleged that two new employees were taken on to carry out her role.

When Mrs Magorrian returned to work she was given different duties, and she subsequently gave birth to her second child and went on maternity leave. Five months into her maternity leave she was made redundant. Mrs Magorrian brought a sex discrimination claim against her employers, and while it was initially defended by Saliis, they subsequently agreed a settlement.

Mary Kitson of the Equality Commission says that employer discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity was still a “major issue” in Northern Ireland, and in a recent investigation carried out by the commission, over half of the women who took part said that pregnancy or maternity leave had “damaged” their career opportunities.

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