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Discrimination During Maternity Leave

As we approach a period of restructuring and potential redundancies due to the implications of Covid 19, employers should not forget that employees who are on maternity leave are entitled to return to the position held prior to going on maternity leave, or an equivalent post, on terms and conditions that are no less favourable. The decision reached in a recent equality case ADJ-000231830 serves as an useful reminder of how employees on maternity leave are protected.

Returning From Maternity Leave

A hotel manager was awarded €12,000 for a breach of Sections 30 and 31 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 when the terms of her role were changed and diminished significantly to what they had been prior to her going on a protected period of maternity leave (ref ADJ - 00001298). Two other claims in respect of alleged discrimination were not upheld in respect of not being able to apply for a new senior role and a changed roster.

Keeping Staff on Maternity Leave Informed of Internal Promotion Opportunities

Justice Robert Eagar in the High Court judge has found that the Defence Forces breached an European Directive with regard to the provision of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in relation to employment matters, by excluding a female employee from a promotion process when she was on maternity leave.

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