16 December 2009
Woman who took maternity leave 'was victim of discrimination'
A woman who took maternity leave was subject to discrimination upon her return to work, it has been ruled.
In a recent tribunal, it was decided that Richenda McAleenan should be awarded compensation of over £8,000, the BBC reports.
She had worked for Ballynahinch Credit Union - which provides a range of financial services to its members - since 1996 and was its longest-serving employee.
When the 29-year-old returned to her position after having a child, she was told she could no longer act up in the absence of her manager.
However, a clause in her contract allowed her to act up. This, the tribunal decided, meant that when Ms McAleenan came back from maternity leave, she was in effect not permitted to return to the same role.
Equality Commission casework director Anne McKernan remarked: "Women returning to work after the birth of a baby, with responsibility for the upbringing of their child, have rights under sex discrimination and employment rights laws which cannot be set aside."