In what is the Fair Work Ombudsman’s fourth case relating to pregnancy discrimination, it has launched a prosecution against the operator Perth’s Dinki Di Child Care Centre. The FWO has claimed Orieta O’Leary – who manages and part-owns W.K.O Pty Ltd, which operates the Innaloo-based centre – allegedly discriminated against a worker in 2010. It alleges after she became aware the woman was pregnant, O’Leary reduced the full-time employee’s work hours, misrepresented to her she was not entitled to parental leave and pressured her to resign. The FWO alleges this amounted to constructive dismissal. It alleges her conduct also breached Fair Work Act provisions that make it unlawful to take action against any employee to prevent them from accessing a workplace right, such as an entitlement to leave. O’Leary and W.K.O face maximum penalties per breach of $6,600 and $33,000 respectively and the FWO is seeking a Court Order for W.K.O to pay the employee $5,000 compensation for economic and non-economic loss. The case is listed for hearing in the Federal Court in Perth on October 3. The FWO’s other three cases (DA#400) involve:
In February, the former owner-operators of a Sydney printing business who were fined $23,760 and ordered to pay $2,207 compensation earlier this year for committing sex and pregnancy discrimination breaches by demoting and mistreating an employee after she told them she was pregnant (DA#391).
In May, the former operator of a Victorian mobile phone business was fined $5,940 for discriminating against an employee when she attempted to return from parental leave.
The FWO is prosecuting A Dalley Holdings Pty Ltd – which operates the Bellarine Court aged care facility at Geelong – and Andrew Dalley, who manages and part-owns the centre, alleging they discriminated against an employee when she attempted to return from maternity leave. The case is still before the Court.
Source: Discrimination Alert, 2 October 2012.