A woman has been awarded more than £45,000 after she was refused maternity pay by the owner of a café in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
An industrial tribunal ruled that Elizabeth Quigley had been unfairly dismissed by Paul McGrory, the owner of Café Ole, according to the BBC.
After failing to arrange maternity pay for Quigley because he'd put her through the books as a part-time member of staff rather than a full-time manager, McGrory told her to lie to social security staff in order to cover up his actions.
Quigley reduced her hours from between 40 and 45 hours a week to 30 hours when she became pregnant in November 2007, and she continued to work until the day before she was due to give birth in July 2008. Her waters broke while at work in the Richmond Shopping Centre café.
When McGrory told Quigley that she did not qualify for statutory maternity pay because he'd put her through the books for 15 hours a week, she was forced to use savings to live on and her solicitor contacted the Office of Industrial Tribunals about the matter.
The tribunal heard that Quigley had been left feeling shocked, distressed and betrayed by the experience and became ill as a result of her treatment by McGrory. She added that she was unable to enjoy her initial period with her baby because she was forced to spend time trying to get her maternity pay and find other money on which to live.
The tribunal ruled that Ms Quigley had been unfairly dismissed, suffered sexual discrimination, as well as distress and injury to her feelings.
By Janie Stamford
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