Victimisation case studies

Pregnancy Discrimination and Victimisation at Work

A woman complained to the Commission that after informing her employer she was pregnant, her supervisor made numerous comments suggesting she would need to finish work. Suggestions were also made that her position would not be available after her baby's birth due to restructuring. The supervisor had placed documents in the woman's "In tray", amongst other paper work, which related to maternity leave and how to terminate an employee. On finding these documents she took them to her solicitor who in turn wrote to the employer advising that a complaint would be lodged with the Commission.

The employer, on receiving the solicitor's letter stood her down on full pay, pending an investigation, alleging the woman removed confidential documents from his office. Her solicitor then lodged a complaint of victimisation and discrimination on the ground of pregnancy with the Commission.

All parties agreed to informal conciliation by the Commission with a view to avoiding the formal complaint process. At conciliation she was offered reinstatement, but because of the dispute the woman felt the future working environment would not be tolerable. The employer agreed to accept her resignation and pay all associated entitlements. The employer also agreed to pay her legal costs regarding the dispute, provide a reference and pay $3,500 for the distress, pain and suffering she experienced.