Sunday 28 December 2014

Mother alleges she was fired from job after becoming pregnant

Saurya Cherfi and Ray Managh

Published 20/03/2014 | 14:45

A Dublin mother, who claimed in court that she was fired after becoming pregnant, has asked a judge to award her damages against her former employer on the grounds of discriminatory treatment.

Jacqueline Gannon, a former secretary with MD Property Management Ltd., (MDPM) alleged in the Circuit Civil Court she had been dismissed less than 18 months after joining the company and only a week after returning from maternity leave.

Barrister James Phillips told Judge Alison Lindsay that company director  Mark Dunleavy never had a problem with Ms Gannon being pregnant but realised she was “dressing for war” when he had received legal proceedings.

Mr Phillips, counsel for the company, said Ms Gannon had been hired by Mr Dunleavy in July 2010 for six months on a part-time basis but had been kept on because of extra work in the company. He had not given her a contract. 

Mr Phillips said Ms Gannon had known before starting her maternity leave in June 2011 that her job was being ended due to an economic downturn within the company.

Gannon, of Grange Abbey Grove, Donaghmede, Dublin, denied she had been hired initially only for six months. She alleged she had been threatened with loss of her position because of her pregnancy.

She told her barrister Amy O’Donoghue that she had been “worried and stressed out” after meetings with Dunleavy in March 2011 about her pregnancy status.

Dunleavy told the court he signed a Maternity Leave form for Ms Gannon with a return-to-work date for mid-December 2011 so that she would get her maternity benefits.  She had never told him she wanted to return to work.

He denied firing her and said she had not been replaced.  MD Property Management, of Upper Baggot Street, Dublin, had purchased a new software system which had improved efficiency within the company.

He said he had been advised not to sign Jobseekers Benefit forms for her.

Judge Lindsay has reserved judgment until next month. 

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