The Fair Work Ombudsman reported on the 8 November 2013 “The operators of a Victorian retail chain were recently fined a record total of $53,592 for discriminating against a pregnant employee.
The company’s owner-managers Feiyue Hu and Jian Ping Hu have also been personally fined a further $7,656 and $5,016 respectively.
To date these penalties imposed against the company and the directors by the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne, were the highest secured by the Fair Work Ombudsman for legal action related to discrimination.
After the employee, then aged 22, told her employer she was pregnant, she was directed to take two weeks of unpaid leave.
Mrs Hu told the employee it was a tradition that women in China do not work when they are pregnant and that she did not want her working at the store.
The conduct breached the discrimination provisions of workplace laws.”
What does that mean for work places? The Fair Work Ombudsman is sending a strong message to employers of all sizes that it will not hesitate to take these complaints to court. The court is making it clear that the conduct such as that outlined above is a breach of the discrimination provisions of workplace law and are willing to fine the companies and also the directors. Therefore if you are a director of a business it is your duty to ensure that the company is making room for bumps.
- “Do a health check of your pregnancy and working parent policies and procedures,
- Be aware of your legal obligations,
- Get help to implement a policy on maternity and paternity leave,
- Training for managers on how to implement that policy, and
- Find out how to implement a comprehensive working parent program (long-term loyalty program), which includes support for your working parents.”
Beware! If you don’t think you have time to do this then you are leaving it undone at your own risk. Your company may be the next to be fined and unwittingly you may also be in line to receive a fine.
By: Celeste Kirby-Brown,
Director of Sales. Marketing and Relationships. Ezypay, mums@work Contributor
Image: The Guardian