Employment lawyer warns pregnancy-related dismissal figures are soaring

Prominent employment rights lawyer Richard Grogan (pictured) has warned that pregnancy-related dismissals have reached “epidemic levels”.

Mr Grogan made his comments after one of his clients, Sandra Gegeckiene, was awarded €10,000 by the Labour Court after being sacked while pregnant by sandwich chain Subway.

Mr Grogan told The Irish Independent: “Some employers regard pregnant females as something to be got rid of as quickly as possible. But the reality is that women play an extremely important role in the workplace. They bring huge benefits to the workplace and it is just an unacceptable approach by employers.”

He added: “The Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court take a very strict approach to matters and enforce the law vigorously. It is not acceptable behaviour. The law, as it stands, is very strong in protecting those who are pregnant who are dismissed.”

But the veteran lawyer conceded that only a fraction of pregnancy dismissal cases are taken up.

He said: “My experience is that less than 20pc actually even get to the door of a court or the WRC. There was a time a few years ago that we would see one pregnancy-related dismissal every two months. Now we come across them roughly every two weeks.

“I do not believe there has been an increase in such dismissals, it is just that employees who are dismissed are more inclined to seek help mainly due to the coverage of these cases in newspapers.

“Pregnancy-related dismissal was always there and people are prepared to bring claims now a bit more.

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